Molecular analysis of microbial diversity in the Zavarzin Spring, Uzon Caldera, Kamchatka

Research paper by V. M. Gumerov, A. V. Mardanov, A. V. Beletsky, E. A. Bonch-Osmolovskaya, N. V. Ravin

Indexed on: 20 Apr '11Published on: 20 Apr '11Published in: Microbiology


The Zavarzin spring is situated in the caldera of the Uzon volcano, Kamchatka, and is characterized by a temperature of about 60°C, neutral pH, and high concentration of sulfur. The bottom of the spring is covered with a cyanobacterial mat. The structure of the microbial community of the water from the Zavarzin spring was qualitatively and quantitatively characterized by pyrosequencing of the V3 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene, which yielded 37 654 independent sequences. The microbial community includes about 900 bacterial and 90 archaeal genera. Bacteria comprised 95% of the microorganisms and archaea less than 5%. The largest part (32.3%) of the community was constituted by the chemolithoautotrophic bacteria Aquificae from the genera Sulfurihydrogenibium and Thermosulfidibacter. Among autotrophic microorganisms, members of Thermodesulfobacteria (7.3%), the gammaproteobacteria Thiofaba (7.6%), the deltaproteobacteria Desulfurella (2.6%), and the betaproteobacteria Thiomonas (0.6%) were also identified. Heterotrophic bacteria were represented by Calditerrivibrio (12.1%), Thermotogae (6.3%), the betaproteobacteria Tepidimonas (6.0%), Deinococcus-Thermus (4.4%), Caldiserica (1.7%), and Dictyoglomi (1.6%). About 1.9% of microorganisms belonged to the BRC1 phylum, which does not include cultured members, and 0.2% of bacteria formed a new phylogenetic branch of the phylum level, representatives of which have been found only in the Zavarzin spring. Members of all four archaeal phyla were identified: Euryarchaeota (42% of archaeal sequences), Crenarchaeota (50%), Korarchaeota (7.5%), and Nanoarchaeota (0.5%). Thus, in the Zavarzin spring, apart from photosynthesis carried out by the cyanobacterial mat, which covers the bottom, chemolithoautotrophic production of organic matter can occur. In aerobic conditions, it proceeds at the expense of the oxidation of sulfur and its reduced compounds, and in anaerobic conditions, at the expense of the oxidation of hydrogen with sulfur and sulfates as electron acceptors. The organic matter formed by autotrophic bacteria may be utilized by various organotrophic microorganisms, including both fermentative bacteria and organisms that carry out anaerobic respiration with sulfur and nitrate as electron acceptors.