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Enviroscan Ukrainian Institute of Speleology and Karstology


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Community news

Speleology in Kazakhstan

Shakalov on 04 Jul, 2018
Hello everyone!   I pleased to invite you to the official site of Central Asian Karstic-Speleological commission ("Kaspeko")   There, we regularly publish reports about our expeditions, articles and reports on speleotopics, lecture course for instructors, photos etc. ...

New publications on hypogene speleogenesis

Klimchouk on 26 Mar, 2012
Dear Colleagues, This is to draw your attention to several recent publications added to KarstBase, relevant to hypogenic karst/speleogenesis: Corrosion of limestone tablets in sulfidic ground-water: measurements and speleogenetic implications Galdenzi,

The deepest terrestrial animal

Klimchouk on 23 Feb, 2012
A recent publication of Spanish researchers describes the biology of Krubera Cave, including the deepest terrestrial animal ever found: Jordana, Rafael; Baquero, Enrique; Reboleira, Sofía and Sendra, Alberto. ...

Caves - landscapes without light

akop on 05 Feb, 2012
Exhibition dedicated to caves is taking place in the Vienna Natural History Museum   The exhibition at the Natural History Museum presents the surprising variety of caves and cave formations such as stalactites and various crystals. ...

Did you know?

That heterogeneity is a characteristic of a medium in which material properties vary from point to point [22].?

Checkout all 2699 terms in the KarstBase Glossary of Karst and Cave Terms


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KarstBase a bibliography database in karst and cave science.

Featured articles from Cave & Karst Science Journals
Chemistry and Karst, White, William B.
See all featured articles
Featured articles from other Geoscience Journals
Karst environment, Culver D.C.
Mushroom Speleothems: Stromatolites That Formed in the Absence of Phototrophs, Bontognali, Tomaso R.R.; D’Angeli Ilenia M.; Tisato, Nicola; Vasconcelos, Crisogono; Bernasconi, Stefano M.; Gonzales, Esteban R. G.; De Waele, Jo
Calculating flux to predict future cave radon concentrations, Rowberry, Matt; Marti, Xavi; Frontera, Carlos; Van De Wiel, Marco; Briestensky, Milos
Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, Tirato, Nicola; Torriano, Stefano F.F;, Monteux, Sylvain; Sauro, Francesco; De Waele, Jo; Lavagna, Maria Luisa; D’Angeli, Ilenia Maria; Chailloux, Daniel; Renda, Michel; Eglinton, Timothy I.; Bontognali, Tomaso Renzo Rezio
Evidence of a plate-wide tectonic pressure pulse provided by extensometric monitoring in the Balkan Mountains (Bulgaria), Briestensky, Milos; Rowberry, Matt; Stemberk, Josef; Stefanov, Petar; Vozar, Jozef; Sebela, Stanka; Petro, Lubomir; Bella, Pavel; Gaal, Ludovit; Ormukov, Cholponbek;
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Your search for microbiology (Keyword) returned 69 results for the whole karstbase:
Showing 61 to 69 of 69
Microbiological Activities in Moonmilk Monitored Using Isothermal Microcalorimetry (Cave of Vers Chez Le Brandt, Neuchatel, Switzerland), 2012,
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Braissant O. , Binderschedler S. , Daniels A. U. , Verrecchia E. P. , Cailleau G.

 

Studies of the influence of microbial communities on calcium carbonate deposits mostly rely on classical or molecular microbiology, isotopic analyses, and microscopy. Using these techniques, it is difficult to infer microbial activities in such deposits. In this context, we used isothermal microcalorimetry, a sensitive and nondestructive tool, to measure microbial activities associated with moonmilk ex-situ. Upon the addition of diluted LB medium and other carbon sources to fresh moonmilk samples, we estimated the number of colony forming units per gram of moonmilk to be 4.8 3 105 6 0.2 3 105. This number was close to the classical plate counts, but one cannot assume that all active cells producing metabolic heat were culturable. Using a similar approach, we estimated the overall growth rate and generation time of the microbial community associated with the moonmilk upon addition of various carbon sources. The range of apparent growth rates of the chemoheterotrophic microbial community observed was between 0.025 and 0.067 h21 and generation times were between 10 and 27 hours. The highest growth rates were observed for citrate and diluted LB medium, while the highest carbon-source consumption rates were observed for low molecular weight organic acids (oxalate and acetate) and glycerol. Considering the rapid degradation of organic acids, glucose, and other carbon sources observed in the moonmilk, it is obvious that upon addition of nutrients during snow melting or rainfall these communities can have high overall activities comparable to those observed in some soils. Such communities can influence the physico-chemical conditions and participate directly or indirectly to the formation of moonmilk.


Zur Mikrobiologie von Bergmilch, 2012,
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Reitschuler C. , Schwarzenauer T. Lins P. , Wagner A. O. , Sptl C. , Illmer P.
Moonmilk is a plastic mineral formation, which can be found inside cave systems all around the world. These deposits mainly consist of microscopic calcite crystals and show a very high water content. However, the association of microorganisms is remarkable, which seem to play a crucial role in the formation process. The present study applies a combination of culture-based methods and DNA analysis and is to our knowledge the first attempt to investigate this phenomenon in an Alpine cave, in Austria. Central questions include (i) the origin of the occurring microorganisms, (ii) their supply with energy and nutrients, (iii) their role in course of the formation of the deposits, and (iv) their structure and organization. The investigations within the Hundalm Eis- und Tropfsteinhhle in Tyrol revealed that a complex, heterotroph-dominated, psychrophilic microbial com munity, con - sisting of archaea, bacteria and fungi is associated with moonmilk, with partly high microbial abundances. Via living cultivation microorganisms could be proved in all 29 samples, with individual (bacterial) numbers of up to one million per ml moonmilk. The remarkable number of pigmented species could be an indication for the origin from a light-exposed surficial habitat. Molecular biological methods proved that even more organisms inhabit this habitat as was suggested after the culture-based investigations. One million archaea per ml were detected in some samples. The detection of different organic acids partially in appreciable amounts is an indication for biological activity and could also give a hint to the energy and nutrient inputin this system.

Cure from the cave: volcanic cave actinomycetes and their potential in drug discovery, 2013,
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Cheeptham N. , Sadoway T. , Rule D. , Watson K. , Moote P. , Soliman L. C. , Azad N. , Donkor K. K. , Horne D.

Volcanic caves have been little studied for their potential as sources of novel microbial species and bioactive compounds with new scaffolds. We present the first study of volcanic cave microbiology from Canada and suggest that this habitat has great potential for the isolation of novel bioactive substances. Sample locations were plotted on a contour map that was compiled in ArcView 3.2. Over 400 bacterial isolates were obtained from the Helmcken Falls cave in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia. From our preliminary screen, of 400 isolates tested, 1% showed activity against extended spectrum ß-lactamase E. coli, 1.75% against Escherichia coli, 2.25% against Acinetobacter baumannii, and 26.50% against Klebsiella pneumoniae. In addition, 10.25% showed activity against Micrococcus luteus, 2% against methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 9.25% against Mycobacterium smegmatis, 6.25% Pseudomonas aeruginosa and 7.5% against Candida albicans. Chemical and physical characteristics of three rock wall samples were studied using scanning electron microscopy and f lame atomic absorption spectrometry. Calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), and aluminum (Al) were the most abundant components while magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), arsenic (As), lead (Pb), chromium (Cr), and barium (Ba) were second most abundant with cadmium (Cd) and potassium (K) were the least abundant in our samples. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed the presence of microscopic life forms in all three rock wall samples. 16S rRNA gene sequencing of 82 isolates revealed that 65 (79.3%) of the strains belong to the Streptomyces genus and 5 (6.1%) were members of Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Nocardia and Erwinia genera. Interestingly, twelve (14.6%) of the 16S rRNA sequences showed similarity to unidentif ied ribosomal RNA sequences in the library databases, the sequences of these isolates need to be further investigated using the EzTaxon-e database (http://eztaxon-e. ezbiocloud.net/) to determine whether or not these are novel species. Nevertheless, this suggests the possibility that they could be unstudied or rare bacteria. The Helmcken Falls cave microbiome possesses a great diversity of microbes with the potential for studies of novel microbial interactions and the isolation of new types of antimicrobial agents.


Karst Geomorphology: Sulfur Karst Processes, 2013,
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Hose, L. D.

Recognition and understanding of the important role of sulfur redox processes in developing karst has grown over the last25 years with the discovery of remarkable sulfur-rich caves worldwide and advances in geomicrobiology. Recent work hasshown that microbes interact with hydrocarbons, calcium sulfate bedrock, magmatic fluids, and sulfide ore minerals toreduce gypsum/anhydrite to calcite, produce hydrogen sulfide and sulfuric acid, convert limestone to gypsum, in crease porosity in carbonate bedrocks, precipitate massive sulfur, and deposit Mississippi Valley-Type (MVT) ores. These processesare most active in the shallow phreatic and vadose-phreatic subsurface, where transitions between aerobic and anaerobicconditions exist.


Mycological study for a management plan of a neotropical show cave (Brazil)., 2013,
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Taylor E. L. S, Resendestoianoff M. A. A, Lopes Ferreira R.

Caves are stable environments with characteristics favoring the development of microorganisms. The allocthonous input of organic matter and microbes into the warm Neotropical caves may favor the development of filamentous fungi, including pathogenic species. Histoplasma capsulatum is a pathogenic species commonly found in caves and associated with bat and bird guano. Many Brazilian caves have been historically visited due to scenic and religious tourism. The objective of this study was to perform a microbiology study for a management plan of a show cave in Brazil, focusing on the presence and distribution of pathogenic and opportunistic fungi in the cave. Statistic analysis was used to verify the influence of touristic activity on airborne fungi spore load. Fungi were isolated from air and guano in Lapa Nova Cave. Samples were obtained through serial dilution, direct and settle plate techniques. For H. capsulatum, samples were incubated in specific media and conditions. Airborne fungal spore load was compared prior and during visitation and statistically analyzed. A total of 2,575 isolates from the genera Aspergillus, Calcarisporium, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Curvularia, Emericella, Eurotium, Fusarium, Geotrichum, Gliocladium, Mucor, Purpureocillium, Paecilomyces, Penicillium, Rhizopus and Trichoderma were identified. Histoplasma capsulatum was not isolated from the cave. Eleven opportunistic species were identified. Significant (p<0.05) variations on fungal richness in the air occurred due to cave visitation. Areas of potential microbiologic risks were indicated and management actions suggested. The results suggest a diverse community inhabiting the cave. Possible opportunistic species should be monitored in show caves and microbiota should always be included in the elaboration of cave management plans. This is the first detailed microbiologic study for a management plan of a show cave in the country. It provides relevant information for future management plans.


Insights into Cave Architecture and the Role of Bacterial Biofilm, 2013,
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Caves offer a stable and protected environment from harsh and changing outside conditions. They lend living proof of the presence of minute life forms that delve deep within the earth’s crust where the possibility of life seems impossible. Devoid of all light sources and lacking the most common source of energy supplied through photosynthesis, the mysterious microbial kingdom in caves are consequently dependent upon alternative sources of energy derived from the surrounding atmosphere, minerals and rocks. There are a number of features that can be observed within a cave that may serve as evidence of microbial activity, for example, formation of biofilms comprised of multiple layers of microbial communities held together by protective gel-like polymers which form complex structures. Different bacterial biofilms can develop on the walls of the cave which can be visually distinguished by their colorations. Moreover, the pH generated by the metabolism of bacterial biofilm on the cave environment can lead to precipitation or dissolution of minerals in caves. Caves also offer an excellent scenario for studying biomineralization processes. The findings on the association of bacteria with secondary minerals as mentioned in this review will help to expand the existing knowledge in geomicrobiology and specifically on the influence of microorganisms in the formation of cave deposits. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge of biospeleology of caves and the associated bacterial biofilms. Recommendations for future research are mentioned to encourage a drift from qualitative studies to more experimental studies.


The influence of light attenuation on the biogeomorphology of a marine karst cave: A case study of Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan, the Philippines, 2015,
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Coombes Martin A. , La Marca Emanuela C. , Naylor Larissa A. , Piccini Leonardo, De Waele Jo, Sauro Francesco

Karst caves are unique biogeomorphological systems. Cave walls offer habitat for microorganisms which in-turn have a geomorphological role via their involvement in rock weathering, erosion and mineralisation. The attenuation of light with distance into caves is known to affect ecology, but the implications of this for biogeomorphological processes and forms have seldom been examined. Here we describe a semi-quantitative microscopy study comparing the extent, structure, and thickness of biocover and depth of endolithic penetration for samples of rock from the Puerto Princesa Underground River system in Palawan, the Philippines, which is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Organic growth at the entrance of the cave was abundant (100% occurrence) and complex, dominated by phototrophic organisms (green microalgae, diatoms, cyanobacteria, mosses and lichens). Thickness of this layer was 0.28 ± 0.18 mm with active endolith penetration into the limestone (mean depth = 0.13 ± 0.03 mm). In contrast, phototrophs were rare 50 m into the cave and biofilm cover was significantly thinner (0.01 ± 0.01 mm, p b 0.000) and spatially patchy (33% occurrence). Endolithic penetration here was also shallower (b0.01mm, p b 0.000) and non-uniform. Biofilm was found 250 m into the cave, but with a complete absence of phototrophs and no evidence of endolithic bioerosion.

We attribute these findings to light-induced stress gradients, showing that the influence of light on phototroph abundance has knock-on consequences for the development of limestone morphological features. In marine caves this includes notches, which were most well-developed at the sheltered cave entrance of our study site, and for which variability in formation rates between locations is currently poorly understood.


Microbial mediation of complex subterranean mineral structures, 2015,
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Tirato Nicola, Torriano Stefano F. F, Monteux Sylvain, Sauro Francesco, De Waele Jo, Lavagna Maria Luisa, D’angeli Ilenia Maria, Chailloux Daniel, Renda Michel, Eglinton Timothy I. , Bontognali Tomaso Renzo Rezio

Helictites—an enigmatic type of mineral structure occurring in some caves—differ from classical speleothems as they develop with orientations that defy gravity. While theories for helictite formation have been forwarded, their genesis remains equivocal. Here, we show that a remarkable suite of helictites occurring in Asperge Cave (France) are formed by biologically-mediated processes, rather than abiotic processes as had hitherto been proposed. Morphological and petro-physical properties are inconsistent with mineral precipitation under purely physico-chemical control.

Instead, microanalysis and molecular-biological investigation reveals the presence of a prokaryotic biofilm intimately associated with the mineral structures. We propose that microbially-influenced mineralization proceeds within a gliding biofilm which serves as a nucleation site for CaCO3, and where chemotaxis influences the trajectory of mineral growth, determining the macroscopic morphology of the speleothems. The influence of biofilms may explain the occurrence of similar speleothems in other caves worldwide, and sheds light on novel biomineralization processes.


LIFE AND WATER ON KARST. Monitoring of transboundary water resources of Northern Istria, 2015,
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The monograph presents the natural features of Northern Istria, the karst and karst phenomena, karst hydrogeology, ecology and microbiology, and highlights in particular the vulnerability of the karst to various human activities. The main focus of attention is on karst water sources. In assessing their characteristics we used available knowledge of karst water on both sides of the border and supplemented it with new research on the transboundary area in question, which was based on field measurements and sampling, and chemical, microbiological and biological analysis of water. The collected findings form the basis for planning more effective monitoring of the quality of karst water sources, their protection and consequently the improvement of their quality.
 


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