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Recherche et caractérisation de microorganismes dans les compartiments géologiques profonds

Vanessa Barsotti 1 
1 RAEN
CENBG - Centre d'Etudes Nucléaires de Bordeaux Gradignan
Abstract : Over the past 50 years, the scientific community has shown a growing interest for deep geological compartments. However, these ecosystems remain largely unknown due to their inaccessibility. The aim of the present thesis was double; the first aim was to characterize, from a microbiological perspective, four terrestrial Triassic sedimentary formations located between 1700 and 2000 m depth in the Parisian Basin and collected by the ANDRA during a deep drilling campaign in 2008, and the second aim was to study the combined effects of temperature, pressure and salinity on the metabolic activity of anaerobic prokaryotes in order to predict their reaction to geological burial.Incubations in a large variety of media were carried out in order to stimulate the growth of the main trophic types found in such environments such as methanogens, fermenters and bacteria reducing sulphur compounds, however, no viable and cultivable microorganisms could be isolated. In parallel, a molecular approach was used to i) compare the efficacy of several DNA extractions methods and ii) analyse the bacterial diversity, using DGGE (Denaturing Gel Gradient Electrophoresis) and cloning, present in rock inner cores conserved either at atmospheric pressure or under pressure, in their initial states and following incubations in various media. The genetic exploration of these samples revealed a very low biomass and a poor diversity composed mainly of aerobic and mesophilic members of the Bacteria domain, a priori unadapted to such a deep, hot, saline and anoxic environment. This unexpected microbial community also found in many subsurface ecosystems as well as in extreme ecosystems could have partially originated from a paleorecharge of the Trias aquifer with cold waters coming from the melting of ice formed during the last Pleistocene glaciation.The second objective was to study the combined effects of temperature (40, 55 and 70°C), pressure (1, 90 and 180 bars) and salinity (13, 50, 110, 180 and 260 g.l-1) on the metabolic activity of anaerobic prokaryotes. In order to identify effects of parameters on microbial activities, a complete factorial plan was constructed from the metabolic activities measured for eight halophile and thermo-tolerant bacterial strains exposed to 30 distinct temperature, pressure and salinity conditions. All the strains issued from deep environments were at the least piezo-tolerant and capable of maintaining their activity under hydrostatic pressures. The fermenting (Thermovirga lienii and Halothermothrix orenii) and thiosulfate reducing strains (Petrotoga mexicana and Thermiosipho japonicus) were particularly well adapted, from a metabolic point of view, to high pressures; indeed the highest activities were measured under pressure. Also, several strains (such as Petrotoga mexicana) showed an increased resistance to high temperatures under pressure. However, resistance to an increase in salinity was variable for each strain under the different temperature and pressure conditions. This suggests that the resistance mechanisms for osmotic pressure also enable resistance to high temperatures and hydrostatic pressures.This work underlines that the microbiological characterization of deep terrestrial ecosystems must not be limited to the search and analyses of the existing diversity. Moreover, such upstream studies of the metabolic activities of subsurface bacterial strains in deep terrestrial conditions are a necessary beginning towards understanding the role of microbial communities in extreme environments.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 1:13:21 PM
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Vanessa Barsotti. Recherche et caractérisation de microorganismes dans les compartiments géologiques profonds. Chimie analytique. UNIVERSITE DE BORDEAUX1, 2011. Français. ⟨tel-00688631⟩

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