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Rare species of microbes unearthed on unfriendly South American Volcanic Mountains

The tallest South American Volcanoes in the Atacama region, with hardly any snow are under the microscope this time. These South American volcanoes with dry soil have no nutrients. These mountains have a top resembling the Martian-like landscape. Researchers are perpetually on the lookout for organisms residing in the most unfriendly dirty surroundings. The DNA analysis of the mountain soil has showed up a cluster of bacteria, Achaea and fungus communities.

The volcanic area is exposed to very high ultra violet radiation and the temperature has been recorded falling till -10 degree Celsius and rising up to 56 degree Celsius within 12 hours .These organisms have caught the eye of the scientists and they are undergoing DNA Analysis .

The organism finder Ryan Lynch and the soil collector Steven Schmidt are microbiologists with the University of Colorado in Boulder. They were surprised at the unearthing of these microbes under such strenuous conditions. He states his findings “We haven’t formally identified or characterized the species,” the surprising fact is that they have a unique way of assimilating energy and surviving as compared to their counterparts.

Lynch and Schmidt found out that these organisms were surprisingly not photosynthetic. They were tested genetically for the presence of green pigment chlorophyll with fluorescent techniques. But the micro organisms in these diverse conditions are managing just fine.

Lynch exclaims “but these are very different than anything else that has been cultured. Genetically, they’re at least 5 percent different than anything else in the [DNA] database of 2.5 million sequences.” The database showed up a collection of microbes, he added, and researchers worldwide are expected to rush to know more about them.

The researchers presume that these microbes carry out energy conversion through chemical reactions. The organisms take in carbon and energy from dimethyl sulfide and carbon monoxide from the air. One gram of normal soil is loaded with thousands of species of microbes; the same can be said of the garden soil too. But the area where the new crop of microbes have sprung up does not have many microbial species residing there. The findings have been added to the Journal of Geophysical Research- Biogeosciences.

A surprised Schmidt who has researched in Peruvian Andes was stunned by these 6,000 meter high ice free volcanic mountains on Chile Argentina border was heard saying “To find a community dominated by less than 20 [species] – that’s pretty amazing for a soil microbiologist,he further said “Overall, there was a good bit lower diversity [in the Atacama samples] than you would find in most soils, including other mountainous mineral soils."

That makes the Atacama microbes very unusual, he added. They probably had to adapt to the extremely harsh environment, or may have evolved in different directions than similar organisms elsewhere due to long-term geographic isolation.