A facultatively anaerobic bacterium, designated strain 1MBB1T, was isolated from basaltic breccia collected from 341 m below the seafloor by seafloor drilling of Rigil Guyot during Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 330. The cells were straight rods, 0.5 μm wide and 1–3 μm long, that occurred singly and in chains. Strain 1MBB1T stained Gram-positive. Catalase and oxidase were produced. The isolate grew optimally at 30 °C and pH 7.5, and could grow with up to 12 % (w/v) NaCl. The DNA G+C content was 40.5 mol%. The major cellular fatty acids were C16:1ω11c (26.5 %), anteiso-C15:0 (19.5 %), C16:0 (18.7 %) and iso-C15:0 (10.4 %), and the cell-wall diamino acid was meso-diaminopimelic acid. Endospores of strain 1MBB1T oxidized Mn(II) to Mn(IV), and siderophore production by vegetative cells was positive. Phylogenetic analysis of the 16S rRNA gene indicated that strain 1MBB1T was a member of the family Bacillaceae, with Bacillus foraminis CV53T and Bacillus novalis LMG 21837T being the closest phylogenetic neighbours (96.5 and 96.2 % similarity, respectively). This is the first novel species described from deep subseafloor basaltic crust. On the basis of our polyphasic analysis, we conclude that strain 1MBB1T represents a novel species of the genus Bacillus, for which we propose the name Bacillus rigiliprofundi sp. nov. The type strain is 1MBB1T ( = NCMA B78T = LMG 28275T).
The deep subsurface is an enormous repository of microbial life. However, the metabolic capabilities of these microorganisms and the degree to which they are dependent on surface processes are largely unknown. Due to the logistical difficulty of sampling and inherent heterogeneity, the microbial populations of the terrestrial subsurface are poorly characterized. In an effort to better understand the biogeochemistry of deep terrestrial habitats, we evaluate the energetic yield of chemolithotrophic metabolisms and microbial diversity in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in the former Homestake Gold Mine, SD, USA. Geochemical data, energetic modeling, and DNA sequencing were combined with principle component analysis to describe this deep (down to 8100 ft below surface), terrestrial environment. SURF provides access into an iron-rich Paleoproterozoic metasedimentary deposit that contains deeply circulating groundwater. Geochemical analyses of subsurface fluids reveal enormous geochemical diversity ranging widely in salinity, oxidation state (ORP 330 to −328 mV), and concentrations of redox sensitive species (e.g., Fe2+ from near 0 to 6.2 mg/L and Σ S2- from 7 to 2778μg/L). As a direct result of this compositional buffet, Gibbs energy calculations reveal an abundance of energy for microorganisms from the oxidation of sulfur, iron, nitrogen, methane, and manganese. Pyrotag DNA sequencing reveals diverse communities of chemolithoautotrophs, thermophiles, aerobic and anaerobic heterotrophs, and numerous uncultivated clades. Extrapolated across the mine footprint, these data suggest a complex spatial mosaic of subsurface primary productivity that is in good agreement with predicted energy yields. Notably, we report Gibbs energy normalized both per mole of reaction and per kg fluid (energy density) and find the later to be more consistent with observed physiologies and environmental conditions. Further application of this approach will significantly expand our understanding of the deep terrestrial biosphere.