Researchers have found bacteria that eat hydrocarbons and natural gas in the deepest layer of ocean crust.

The bacteria with remarkable range of capabilities is even found in temperatures near the boiling point of water in the deepest part of the ocean, said the study published in the journal PLoS One. This is the first such study to understand the biology of the Oceanic crust, which covers about 70 per cent of the surface of the Earth. Till now, scientists have little clue on the biology near the oceanic crust. It is also expensive to probe this region.

"This is a new ecosystem that almost no one has ever explored," said Martin Fisk, a professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. "We expected some bacterial forms, but the long list of biological functions that are taking place so deep beneath the Earth is surprising."The microbes to have a genetic potential for carbon storage, the report said.

“These findings don't offer any easy or simple solutions to some of the environmental issues that are of interest to us on Earth, such as greenhouse warming or oil spill pollution," Fisk said. "However, they do indicate there's a whole world of biological activity deep beneath the ocean that we don't know much about, and we need to study."