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Microbial communities survive on wind-deposited sediment particles within liquid water inclusions in permanently ice-covered Antarctic lakes (6).

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Nutrients in the accretion ice include salts and dissolved organic carbon.

There is great interest in searching for living microbes and especially for new species in deepest Antarctic ice.

From the mean crystal size of their sample, they estimated that the melt water concentration of acid was ≈7 μM and thus that most, and perhaps all, of the acid was concentrated in veins.

They later showed that hydrochloric acid can also concentrate in veins (20).

Microbial life has been found at depths down to several kilometers in the earth's crust (3), and viable bacterial populations have been discovered at Pacific Ocean sites to depths of 500 m in sediments (4).

Bacteria can grow and reproduce at temperatures ≤0°C in high-altitude cloud droplets (5).Microbes, some of which may be viable, have been found in ice cores drilled at Vostok Station at depths down to ≈3,600 m, close to the surface of the huge subglacial Lake Vostok. The upper 3,500 m comprises glacial ice containing traces of nutrients of aeolian origin including sulfuric acid, nitric acid, methanosulfonic acid (MSA), formic acid, sea salts, and mineral grains.Ice below ≈3,500 m comprises refrozen water from Lake Vostok, accreted to the bottom of the glacial ice.Superimposed on a general decline of radiocarbon uptake as a function of depth of origin of the sample (from 0.0044 μg per liter per h at 1,665 m to 0.0002 μg per liter per h at 2,750 m), they found a very low uptake in cells from depths corresponding to cold periods.Willerslev (10), using PCR amplification of fragments of the eukaryotic 18S r RNA gene, identified a diversity of fungi, plants, algae, and protists extracted from 2,000- and 4,000-year-old ice-core samples from North Greenland. The possibility of finding subglacial sources of microbes is now of great international interest.In this paper, I propose a habitat that will sustain a small population of psychrophilic bacteria in deep Antarctic ice in the absence of sunlight or oxygen, at pressures up to 400 bars (1 bar = 100 k Pa), at temperatures well below 0°C, and in strongly acidic or saline solutions.

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