Wednesday 12nd April : a continuous culture experiment

Since the beginning of the HERMINE cruise, the microbiology team has set up a continuous culture experiment that reproduces as much as possible certain habitats associated to hydrothermal vents (temperature of 80°C, hydrogen and carbon dioxide emission, no oxygen, mineralized substrate…), in order to study the colonization of hydrothermal minerals by microorganism.

The advantage of the continuous culture is that it is possible to adjust several physical and chemical parameters (temperature, gas concentrations…) to observe variations in the microorganism communities’ behavior.

The first observations are encouraging because growth of microorganisms and methane production by some of them were detected. These microorganisms could be the first to colonize mineralized rocks from hydrothermal systems.