Microbial diversity in the deep subsurfce resevoir

Financing Agency: Russian Ministry of Education and Science

The deep subsurface biosphere is considered to be a “seed bank” of thermophilic microorganisms. We study microbial diversity in the outflow of a deep (2600 m), artesian, thermal, oil-exploration borehole in Western Siberia.

Project Coordinators: Elizaveta Bonch-Osmolovskaya, Olga Karnachuk

The studied borehole (P3) is in Palaeozoic strata and was never properly sealed following its abandonment. The borehole has been used by the local population as a source of thermal water for the past 40 years. The artesian overflow has a maximum rate of 9.3 m3/day. The artesian character of the borehole is an advantage for microbiological research since it is conceivable that continuous overflow for a period of several decades will have flushed out any possible contamination due to the drilling process.

PCR-DGGE analysis of 16S rRNA gene fragments, and cultivation in batch culture / bioreactor demonstrated that various Firmicutes, protoeobacterial Hydrogenophilus and methanogenic Archaea accounted for a significant component of the bacterial population.