Characterisation of novel isolates from an Enceladan analogue

Macey, Michael C.; Fox-Powell, Mark; Cousins, Claire R.; Pearson, Victoria K.; Schwenzer, Susanne P. and Olsson-Francis, Karen (2018). Characterisation of novel isolates from an Enceladan analogue. In: AbGradE Symposium 2018, 22-24 Sep 2018, Berlin, Germany.



Colour Peak is a region of continuous permafrost in the Canadian arctic known for its highly saline, sulphur rich and perennially cold springs (the temperature does not rise above 7°C). The properties of these springs have led to them being considered analogous to the sub-surface oceans of the icy moons Enceladus and Europa. Therefore, the diversity of prokaryotes which persist in this environment is important for understanding the survivability and metabolism of potential life within these extra-terrestrial environments.

Cultivation-dependant techniques were applied in order to assess the diversity of prokaryotes present in sediment collected from a hyper-saline cold pool at Colour Peak. Multiple enrichment regimes were implemented, informed by the community profile of the Colour Peak sediment. Numerous strains of bacteria halophilic isolates were captured and characterised through physiological characterisation and bioinformatics analysis of sequenced genomes. Using this approach, it was possible to develop an insight into the metabolic potential underpinning the survival of these isolates under the array of selection pressures that exist in this analogue site.

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