Culturing The Deep Subsurface

Natalia Obrzut, Caitlin Casar, and Magdalena Osburn

Abstract The Deep Subsurface as a Martian Analog Culturing The 'Unculturable' Results Contact

The search for life on other planets is limited by science and technology. In order to best understand life on other planets we must look at the life living deep in our planet, the intraterrestrials. Conditions in the deep subsurface of our planet consist of limited organic carbon, oxygen, water, and other nutrients. By cultivating these microbes in lab we can study optimal living conditions and the limits of life for these microbes. Studying intraterrestrials and their biosignatures will prepare us for the kind of markers we will be looking for on other planets and prepare us with the techniques needed to study these life forms. I cultured microbes from the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in heterotrophic and autotrophic growth medium under various conditions and was able to isolate different strains of microbes. I was able to isolate strains of aerobic heterotrophs, aerobic and anaerobic heterotrophs as well as autotrophs capable of metabolizing ammonia in the presence of antibiotic. This information provides insight into how microbes can survive in seemingly inhospitable environments.

Natalia Obrzut
Loyola University Chicago