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Appl Environ Microbiol. Nov 1993; 59(11): 3545–3550.
PMCID: PMC182496

Survival of subsurface microorganisms exposed to UV radiation and hydrogen peroxide.


Aerobic and microaerophilic subsurface bacteria were screened for resistance to UV light. Contrary to the hypothesis that subsurface bacteria should be sensitive to UV light, the organisms studied exhibited resistance levels as efficient as those of surface bacteria. A total of 31% of the aerobic subsurface isolates were UV resistant, compared with 26% of the surface soil bacteria that were tested. Several aerobic, gram-positive, pigmented, subsurface isolates exhibited greater resistance to UV light than all of the reference bacterial strains tested except Deinococcus radiodurans. None of the microaerophilic, gram-negative, nonpigmented, subsurface isolates were UV resistant; however, these isolates exhibited levels of sensitivity similar to those of the gram-negative reference bacteria Escherichia coli B and Pseudomonas fluorescens. Photoreactivation activity was detected in three subsurface isolates, and strain UV3 exhibited a more efficient mechanism than E. coli B. The peroxide resistance of four subsurface isolates was also examined. The aerobic subsurface bacteria resistant to UV light tolerated higher levels of H2O2 than the microaerophilic organisms. The conservation of DNA repair pathways in subsurface microorganisms may be important in maintaining DNA integrity and in protecting the organisms against chemical insults, such as oxygen radicals, during periods of slow growth.

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Selected References

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