Diversity of Bacteria in Permafrost
Shannon Hinsa-Leasure and Corien Bakermans
from: Cold-Adapted Microorganisms (Edited by: Isao Yumoto). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2013)
In the cold challenging environment of the permafrost, bacteria have found a way to survive and grow for thousands to millions of years. In this chapter, we explore bacterial diversity in permafrost from around the world, identified through culture-dependent and -independent techniques. Members of the phylum Actinobacteria, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria have been found in every environment studied thus far, indicating that these bacteria are well suited for life at low temperatures with low water activity. Also, unique species specific to individual environments have been discovered at each site. Researchers are faced with the challenge of determining which bacteria are active in the permafrost and which are in a dormant state. The ability of bacteria to reside in a dormant state further complicates culture-independent experimental results, as DNA from both dormant and active cells has been analyzed. We are only beginning to understand the metabolic capabilities of permafrost bacteria, many discoveries are still to come read more ...