Overview of issues in subsurface and landfill microbiology

By: , and 
Edited by: C.J. HurstR. CrawfordJ. GarlandD.A. LipsonA.L. Mills, and L.D. Stetzenbach



To date, the majority of evidence indicates that most subsurface environments possess climax ecological communities that are well adapted to the environment in which they live. Like their counterparts on the surface, subsurface ecosystems are characterized by a high degree of microbiological diversity, they possess trophic structure, and they exhibit material cycling and energy transfer. Members of such ecosystems typically possess structural, physiological, or reproductive adaptations that allow them to disperse and survive in such habitats. Current studies argue that microbial activities influence the geochemical processes in both landfills and subsurface environments and that the altered geochemistry, in turn, influences the selection of microorganisms proliferating in the habitat. However, while microbial activity may often be limited by the availability of electron donors in uncontaminated aquifer systems, this is rarely the case with landfills. Sections in this chapter provide investigators with a greater understanding of the experimental approaches needed to study the microbiology of the terrestrial subsurface and an appreciation of interpretational limits imposed by the existing methodologies. The hope is that further study of subsurface microorganisms will provide insights into the process of microbial evolution and possibly into the origins of life itself.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Overview of issues in subsurface and landfill microbiology
Chapter 65
DOI 10.1128/9781555815882.ch65
Edition 3
Year Published 2007
Language English
Publisher ASM Press
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 4 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Manual of environmental microbiology
First page 795
Last page 798