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Cultivation is the only way to obtain microorganisms and study their physiology in order to estimate their impact on biogeochemical cycles in deep sediments. For this reason, we enriched at in situ temperature and salinity various types of heterotrophic microorganisms, in particular fermenters; Fe(III), Mn(IV), and nitrate reducers; and methanogens, using different media that cover a wide range of environmental conditions and metabolic requirements.

Since methanogens only convert small compounds into methane, the initially more complex compounds have to be broken down by networks of sometimes syntrophic microbial consortia. Consequently, methanogens were cultivated with a broad range of complex substrates, especially hydrocarbons, fatty acids, polymers, or algal cell fragments.