Implications of a short carbon pulse on biofilm formation on mica schist in microcosms with deep crystalline bedrock groundwater

Maija Nuppunen-Puputti (Corresponding Author), Riikka Kietäväinen, Ilmo Kukkonen, Malin Bomberg

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Microbial life in the deep subsurface occupies rock surfaces as attached communities and biofilms. Previously, epilithic Fennoscandian deep subsurface bacterial communities were shown to host genetic potential, especially for heterotrophy and sulfur cycling. Acetate, methane, and methanol link multiple biogeochemical pathways and thus represent an important carbon and energy source for microorganisms in the deep subsurface. In this study, we examined further how a short pulse of low-molecular-weight carbon compounds impacts the formation and structure of sessile microbial communities on mica schist surfaces over an incubation period of ∼3.5 years in microcosms containing deep subsurface groundwater from the depth of 500 m, from Outokumpu, Finland. The marker gene copy counts in the water and rock phases were estimated with qPCR, which showed that bacteria dominated the mica schist communities with a relatively high proportion of epilithic sulfate-reducing bacteria in all microcosms. The dominant bacterial phyla in the microcosms were Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Actinobacteria, whereas most fungal genera belonged to Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. Dissimilarities between planktic and sessile rock surface microbial communities were observed, and the supplied carbon substrates led to variations in the bacterial community composition.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1054084
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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