LONDON, April 14 (Xinhua) -- Scientists have identified a new group of bacteria in the Mariana Trench that can degrade hydrocarbon.
The bacteria was found in the microbial population samples collected from the deepest part of the trench that located in the western Pacific Ocean.
"These types of microorganisms essentially eat compounds similar to those in oil and then use it for fuel," said Jonathan Todd, researcher at Biological Sciences School of University of East Anglia.
The proportion of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria in the trench is the highest on the Earth, according to the research paper published Friday in the international journal Microbiome.
Hydrocarbons found in the samples collected from the trench probably derived from ocean surface pollution, as the organic compounds can be found in many places including crude oil and natural gas, said researchers.
The research team also found biological hydrocarbons in the samples, which suggested the existence of a microbial population that can produce hydrocarbons in the environment.
These biological hydrocarbons might help microbes survive the crushing pressure and become food source for other microbes in the trench, researchers suggested when noting the necessity of further studies.