Rare biosphere archaea assimilate acetate in Precambrian terrestrial subsurface at 2.2 km depth

Maija Nuppunen-Puputti (Corresponding Author), Lotta Purkamo, Riikka Kietäväinen, Mari Nyyssönen, Merja Itävaara, Lasse Ahonen, Ilmo Kukkonen, Malin Bomberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The deep biosphere contains a large portion of the total microbial communities on Earth, but little is known about the carbon sources that support deep life. In this study, we used Stable Isotope Probing (SIP) and high throughput amplicon sequencing to identify the acetate assimilating microbial communities at 2260 m depth in the bedrock of Outokumpu, Finland. The long-term and short-term effects of acetate on the microbial communities were assessed by DNA-targeted SIP and RNA targeted cell activation. The microbial communities reacted within hours to the amended acetate. Archaeal taxa representing the rare biosphere at 2260 m depth were identified and linked to the cycling of acetate, and were shown to have an impact on the functions and activity of the microbial communities in general through small key carbon compounds. The major archaeal lineages identified to assimilate acetate and metabolites derived from the labelled acetate were Methanosarcina spp., Methanococcus spp., Methanolobus spp., and unclassified Methanosarcinaceae. These archaea have previously been detected in the Outokumpu deep subsurface as minor groups. Nevertheless, their involvement in the assimilation of acetate and secretion of metabolites derived from acetate indicated an important role in the supporting of the whole community in the deep subsurface, where carbon sources are limited.

Original languageEnglish
Article number418
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2018
MoE publication typeNot Eligible


  • Aceticlastic methanogenesis
  • Carbon cycling
  • Deep biosphere
  • ICDP
  • Methanococcus
  • Methanolobus
  • Methanosarcina
  • Stable isotope probing

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