The development of careful quality assurance criteria assuring freedom from contamination in all aspects of sample recovery has opened the window to studies of a fascinating new microbial biome in the deep subsurface. Organisms have been recovered with unusual metabolic capabilities and a chemosynthetic lifestyle independent of the recent surface photosynthetically derived energy inputs. The properties of the subsurface microbiota are critical when assessing aspects such as the utility of burying radioactive waste, the remediation of mixtures of organics, metals, and nuclides, and the search for life in extreme environments on Earth as well as on Mars and other extraterrestrial sites. In addition this pioneering work provides a foundation for examining life processes in extreme environments, such as the environment beneath the ocean floor.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases