Endolithic cyanobacteria are found in halite nodules in the hyperarid core of the Atacama Desert. Using Pulse Amplitude Modulated Fluorometry, we show here that photosynthetic systems of these cyanobacteria become active when the relative humidity rises above 70% and the salt becomes wet by way of deliquescence. This is the first evidence of active metabolism in the hyperarid core of the Atacama, and supports the view of a microbial community sustained by deliquescence. Our results expand the water activity envelope of life on Earth.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.