Microbiological characteristics of Quaternary sediments at Starunia palaeontological site and vicinity (Carpathian region, Ukraine)

Wiesław Barabasz, Maria Jolanta Chmiel, Marek Ostafin


The microbiological research on the area of the palaeontological site in Starunia (Ukraine) reveals the details of biological activity of the near-surface layers and Quaternary sediments. In Starunia area remnants of a mammoth and three woolly rhinoceroses, and one almost completely preserved rhinoceros carcass were found in 1907 and 1929. The gained quantitative results regarding the occurrence of different physiological groups of microorganisms show that their number varied significantly depending on the sampling place, sampling depth, pH, humidity and the organic matter content. The amount and differentiation of the tested groups of microorganisms typically decreased with the depth. In several deep-sampling locations there was increase in the microorganisms, especially with methanogens and methanotrophs. The metanogens occurred mainly in Pleistocene sediments, comprised of clayey mud and peat, while saprophytic microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and actinomycetes) occur in Holocene sediments comprised of clayey mud, peat and peat mud. The quantity of microorganisms in selected boreholes was related to high concentration of the organic matter (mainly peat and peat mud) and correlated with methane occurrence.

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