Revealing Special Life Processes of Deep-sea Difficult-to-cultivate Microorganisms

Date:Mar 22, 2024    |  【 A  A  A 】

(Text by ZHENG Rikuan,

Rikuan was testing the long-term enrichment culture of deep-sea difficult-to-cultivate microorganisms. Credit: Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

The deep sea (water depth >1000 m) has a variety of extreme environmental conditions, such as low temperature, darkness, high pressure and oligotrophy, but it is rich in microbial groups and unique life mechanisms. However, due to limitations in sampling and culture conditions, over 99.9% of deep-sea microorganisms have not been cultured. Therefore, isolating difficult-to-cultivate microorganisms and studying their biological characteristics and ecological functions has become a significant task in microbiology.

Scientific research must be innovative, and how to maximize the original research results is an important issue that every researcher will consider.

As a microbiologist from the Institute of Oceanology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS), I choose to innovate at the source, taking on the challenge of isolating the world's never-before-cultured microbes and obtaining unique, difficult-to-cultivate microbes.

Since I began my doctoral study at IOCAS in 2018, I have been engaged in the research on the isolation and culture of deep-sea difficult-to-cultivate microorganisms and their special life processes. After continuous exploration in the early stage, we finally established a pure culture technology of microorganisms driven by specific substance metabolism, and obtained a series of novel deep-sea difficult-to-cultivate microorganisms: including methanogenic archaea, Tenericutes, Lentisphaerae, Chloroflexi, etc.

We also revealed the unique metabolic characteristics of a series of deep-sea difficult-to-cultivate microorganisms, analyzed the novel mechanism of the metabolic pathway of microbial substances to drive the element cycle, and expanded our understanding of the special life process of deep-sea microorganisms.

Our current research on deep-sea difficult-to-cultivate microorganisms is only the tip of the iceberg. Although the number of isolated deep-sea microorganisms is increasing, the resources and mysteries of deep-sea microorganisms still require us to continuously explore and discover!

The mystery of deep-sea difficult-to-cultivate microorganisms is the focus of my future work and will be gradually revealed.

(Editor: ZHANG Yiyi)

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