Investigation of Microbial Diversity in Geothermal Hot Springs in Unkeshwar, India, Based on 16S rRNA Amplicon Metagenome Sequencing.
ABSTRACT: Microbial diversity in geothermal waters of the Unkeshwar hot springs in Maharashtra, India, was studied using 16S rRNA amplicon metagenomic sequencing. Taxonomic analysis revealed the presence of Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, Cyanobacteria, Actinobacteria, Archeae, and OD1 phyla. Metabolic function prediction analysis indicated a battery of biological information systems indicating rich and novel microbial diversity, with potential biotechnological applications in this niche.
Project description:Decades of research into the Bacteria and Archaea living in geothermal spring ecosystems have yielded great insight into the diversity of life and organismal adaptations to extreme environmental conditions. Surprisingly, while microbial eukaryotes (protists) are also ubiquitous in many environments, their diversity across geothermal springs has mostly been ignored. We used high-throughput sequencing to illuminate the diversity and structure of microbial eukaryotic communities found in 160 geothermal springs with broad ranges in temperature and pH across the Taup? Volcanic Zone in New Zealand. Protistan communities were moderately predictable in composition and varied most strongly across gradients in pH and temperature. Moreover, this variation mirrored patterns observed for bacterial and archaeal communities across the same spring samples, highlighting that there are similar ecological constraints across the tree of life. While extreme pH values were associated with declining protist diversity, high temperature springs harbored substantial amounts of protist diversity. Although protists are often overlooked in geothermal springs and other extreme environments, our results indicate that such environments can host distinct and diverse protistan communities.
Project description:Geothermal springs are model ecosystems to investigate microbial biogeography as they represent discrete, relatively homogenous habitats, are distributed across multiple geographical scales, span broad geochemical gradients, and have reduced metazoan interactions. Here, we report the largest known consolidated study of geothermal ecosystems to determine factors that influence biogeographical patterns. We measured bacterial and archaeal community composition, 46 physicochemical parameters, and metadata from 925 geothermal springs across New Zealand (13.9-100.6?°C and pH?<?1-9.7). We determined that diversity is primarily influenced by pH at temperatures <70?°C; with temperature only having a significant effect for values >70?°C. Further, community dissimilarity increases with geographic distance, with niche selection driving assembly at a localised scale. Surprisingly, two genera (Venenivibrio and Acidithiobacillus) dominated in both average relative abundance (11.2% and 11.1%, respectively) and prevalence (74.2% and 62.9%, respectively). These findings provide an unprecedented insight into ecological behaviour in geothermal springs, and a foundation to improve the characterisation of microbial biogeographical processes.
Project description:Analysis of the increasing wealth of metagenomic data collected from diverse environments can lead to the discovery of novel branches on the tree of life. Here we analyse 5.2 Tb of metagenomic data collected globally to discover a novel bacterial phylum ('Candidatus Kryptonia') found exclusively in high-temperature pH-neutral geothermal springs. This lineage had remained hidden as a taxonomic 'blind spot' because of mismatches in the primers commonly used for ribosomal gene surveys. Genome reconstruction from metagenomic data combined with single-cell genomics results in several high-quality genomes representing four genera from the new phylum. Metabolic reconstruction indicates a heterotrophic lifestyle with conspicuous nutritional deficiencies, suggesting the need for metabolic complementarity with other microbes. Co-occurrence patterns identifies a number of putative partners, including an uncultured Armatimonadetes lineage. The discovery of Kryptonia within previously studied geothermal springs underscores the importance of globally sampled metagenomic data in detection of microbial novelty, and highlights the extraordinary diversity of microbial life still awaiting discovery.
Project description:Geothermal systems emit substantial amounts of aqueous, gaseous, and methylated mercury, but little is known about microbial influences on mercury speciation. Here, we report results from genome-resolved metagenomics and mercury speciation analysis of acidic warm springs in the Ngawha Geothermal Field (<55°C, pH <4.5), Northland Region, Aotearoa New Zealand. Our aim was to identify the microorganisms genetically equipped for mercury methylation, demethylation, or Hg(II) reduction to volatile Hg(0) in these springs. Dissolved total and methylated mercury concentrations in two adjacent springs with different mercury speciation ranked among the highest reported from natural sources (250 to 16,000?ng liter<sup>-1</sup> and 0.5 to 13.9?ng liter<sup>-1</sup>, respectively). Total solid mercury concentrations in spring sediments ranged from 1,274 to 7,000??g g<sup>-1</sup> In the context of such ultrahigh mercury levels, the geothermal microbiome was unexpectedly diverse and dominated by acidophilic and mesophilic sulfur- and iron-cycling bacteria, mercury- and arsenic-resistant bacteria, and thermophilic and acidophilic archaea. By integrating microbiome structure and metagenomic potential with geochemical constraints, we constructed a conceptual model for biogeochemical mercury cycling in geothermal springs. The model includes abiotic and biotic controls on mercury speciation and illustrates how geothermal mercury cycling may couple to microbial community dynamics and sulfur and iron biogeochemistry.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Little is currently known about biogeochemical mercury cycling in geothermal systems. The manuscript presents a new conceptual model, supported by genome-resolved metagenomic analysis and detailed geochemical measurements. The model illustrates environmental factors that influence mercury cycling in acidic springs, including transitions between solid (mineral) and aqueous phases of mercury, as well as the interconnections among mercury, sulfur, and iron cycles. This work provides a framework for studying natural geothermal mercury emissions globally. Specifically, our findings have implications for mercury speciation in wastewaters from geothermal power plants and the potential environmental impacts of microbially and abiotically formed mercury species, particularly where they are mobilized in spring waters that mix with surface or groundwaters. Furthermore, in the context of thermophilic origins for microbial mercury volatilization, this report yields new insights into how such processes may have evolved alongside microbial mercury methylation/demethylation and the environmental constraints imposed by the geochemistry and mineralogy of geothermal systems.
Project description:Extant anoxygenic phototrophs are taxonomically, physiologically, and metabolically diverse and include examples from all seven bacterial phyla with characterized phototrophic members. pH, temperature, and sulfide are known to constrain phototrophs, but how these factors dictate the distribution and activity of specific taxa of anoxygenic phototrophs has not been reported. Here, we hypothesized that within the known limits of pH, temperature, and sulfide, the distribution, abundance, and activity of specific anoxygenic phototrophic taxa would vary due to key differences in the physiology of these organisms. To test this hypothesis, we examined the distribution, abundance, and potential activity of anoxygenic phototrophs in filaments, microbial mats, and sediments across geochemical gradients in geothermal features of Yellowstone National Park, which ranged in pH from 2.2 to 9.4 and in temperature from 31.5°C to 71.0°C. Indeed, our data indicate putative aerobic anoxygenic phototrophs within the Proteobacteria are more abundant at lower pH and lower temperature, while phototrophic Chloroflexi are prevalent in circumneutral to alkaline springs. In contrast to previous studies, our data suggest sulfide is not a key determinant of anoxygenic phototrophic taxa. Finally, our data underscore a role for photoheterotrophy (or photomixotrophy) across geochemical gradients in terrestrial geothermal ecosystems.IMPORTANCE There is a long and rich history of literature on phototrophs in terrestrial geothermal springs. These studies have revealed sulfide, pH, and temperature are the main constraints on phototrophy. However, the taxonomic and physiological diversity of anoxygenic phototrophs suggests that, within these constraints, specific geochemical parameters determine the distribution and activity of individual anoxygenic phototrophic taxa. Here, we report the recovery of sequences affiliated with characterized anoxygenic phototrophs in sites that range in pH from 2 to 9 and in temperature from 31°C to 71°C. Transcript abundance indicates anoxygenic phototrophs are active across this temperature and pH range. Our data suggest sulfide is not a key determinant of anoxygenic phototrophic taxa and underscore a role for photoheterotrophy in terrestrial geothermal ecosystems. These data provide the framework for high-resolution sequencing and in situ activity approaches to characterize the physiology of specific anoxygenic phototrophic taxa across a broad range of temperatures and pH.
Project description:Thermal environments have island-like characteristics and provide a unique opportunity to study population structure and diversity patterns of microbial taxa inhabiting these sites. Strains having ?98% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity to the obligately anaerobic Firmicutes Thermoanaerobacter uzonensis were isolated from seven geothermal springs, separated by up to 1600 m, within the Uzon Caldera (Kamchatka, Russian Far East). The intraspecies variation and spatial patterns of diversity for this taxon were assessed by multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) of 106 strains. Analysis of eight protein-coding loci (gyrB, lepA, leuS, pyrG, recA, recG, rplB, and rpoB) revealed that all loci were polymorphic and that nucleotide substitutions were mostly synonymous. There were 148 variable nucleotide sites across 8003 bp concatenates of the protein-coding loci. While pairwise F ST values indicated a small but significant level of genetic differentiation between most subpopulations, there was a negligible relationship between genetic divergence and spatial separation. Strains with the same allelic profile were only isolated from the same hot spring, occasionally from consecutive years, and single locus variant (SLV) sequence types were usually derived from the same spring. While recombination occurred, there was an "epidemic" population structure in which a particular T. uzonensis sequence type rose in frequency relative to the rest of the population. These results demonstrate spatial diversity patterns for an anaerobic bacterial species in a relative small geographic location and reinforce the view that terrestrial geothermal springs are excellent places to look for biogeographic diversity patterns regardless of the involved distances.
Project description:Among the huge diversity of thermophilic bacteria mainly bacilli have been reported as active thermostable lipase producers. Geothermal springs serve as the main source for isolation of thermostable lipase producing bacilli. Thermostable lipolytic enzymes, functioning in the harsh conditions, have promising applications in processing of organic chemicals, detergent formulation, synthesis of biosurfactants, pharmaceutical processing etc.In order to study the distribution of lipase-producing thermophilic bacilli and their specific lipase protein primary structures, three lipase producers from different genera were isolated from mesothermal (27.5-70 °C) springs distributed on the territory of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Based on phenotypic characteristics and 16S rRNA gene sequencing the isolates were identified as Geobacillus sp., Bacillus licheniformis and Anoxibacillus flavithermus strains. The lipase genes of isolates were sequenced by using initially designed primer sets. Multiple alignments generated from primary structures of the lipase proteins and annotated lipase protein sequences, conserved regions analysis and amino acid composition have illustrated the similarity (98-99%) of the lipases with true lipases (family I) and GDSL esterase family (family II). A conserved sequence block that determines the thermostability has been identified in the multiple alignments of the lipase proteins.The results are spreading light on the lipase producing bacilli distribution in geothermal springs in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Newly isolated bacilli strains could be prospective source for thermostable lipases and their genes.
Project description:Novel thermophilic crenarchaea have been observed in Fe(III) oxide microbial mats of Yellowstone National Park (YNP); however, no definitive work has identified specific microorganisms responsible for the oxidation of Fe(II). The objectives of the current study were to isolate and characterize an Fe(II)-oxidizing member of the Sulfolobales observed in previous 16S rRNA gene surveys and to determine the abundance and distribution of close relatives of this organism in acidic geothermal springs containing high concentrations of dissolved Fe(II). Here we report the isolation and characterization of the novel, Fe(II)-oxidizing, thermophilic, acidophilic organism Metallosphaera sp. strain MK1 obtained from a well-characterized acid-sulfate-chloride geothermal spring in Norris Geyser Basin, YNP. Full-length 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis revealed that strain MK1 exhibits only 94.9 to 96.1% sequence similarity to other known Metallosphaera spp. and less than 89.1% similarity to known Sulfolobus spp. Strain MK1 is a facultative chemolithoautotroph with an optimum pH range of 2.0 to 3.0 and an optimum temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees C. Strain MK1 grows optimally on pyrite or Fe(II) sorbed onto ferrihydrite, exhibiting doubling times between 10 and 11 h under aerobic conditions (65 degrees C). The distribution and relative abundance of MK1-like 16S rRNA gene sequences in 14 acidic geothermal springs containing Fe(III) oxide microbial mats were evaluated. Highly related MK1-like 16S rRNA gene sequences (>99% sequence similarity) were consistently observed in Fe(III) oxide mats at temperatures ranging from 55 to 80 degrees C. Quantitative PCR using Metallosphaera-specific primers confirmed that organisms highly similar to strain MK1 comprised up to 40% of the total archaeal community at selected sites. The broad distribution of highly related MK1-like 16S rRNA gene sequences in acidic Fe(III) oxide microbial mats is consistent with the observed characteristics and growth optima of Metallosphaera-like strain MK1 and emphasizes the importance of this newly described taxon in Fe(II) chemolithotrophy in acidic high-temperature environments of YNP.
Project description:Biomineralized ferric oxide microbial mats are ubiquitous features on Earth, are common in hot springs of Yellowstone National Park (YNP, WY, USA), and form due to direct interaction between microbial and physicochemical processes. The overall goal of this study was to determine the contribution of different community members to the assembly and succession of acidic high-temperature Fe(III)-oxide mat ecosystems. Spatial and temporal changes in Fe(III)-oxide accretion and the abundance of relevant community members were monitored over 70 days using sterile glass microscope slides incubated in the outflow channels of two acidic geothermal springs (pH = 3-3.5; temperature = 68-75°C) in YNP. Hydrogenobaculum spp. were the most abundant taxon identified during early successional stages (4-40 days), and have been shown to oxidize arsenite, sulfide, and hydrogen coupled to oxygen reduction. Iron-oxidizing populations of Metallosphaera yellowstonensis were detected within 4 days, and reached steady-state levels within 14-30 days, corresponding to visible Fe(III)-oxide accretion. Heterotrophic archaea colonized near 30 days, and emerged as the dominant functional guild after 70 days and in mature Fe(III)-oxide mats (1-2 cm thick). First-order rate constants of Fe(III)-oxide accretion ranged from 0.046 to 0.05 day(-1), and in situ microelectrode measurements showed that the oxidation of Fe(II) is limited by the diffusion of O2 into the Fe(III)-oxide mat. The formation of microterracettes also implicated O2 as a major variable controlling microbial growth and subsequent mat morphology. The assembly and succession of Fe(III)-oxide mat communities follows a repeatable pattern of colonization by lithoautotrophic organisms, and the subsequent growth of diverse organoheterotrophs. The unique geochemical signatures and micromorphology of extant biomineralized Fe(III)-oxide mats are also useful for understanding other Fe(II)-oxidizing systems.
Project description:Over 200 years ago Alexander von Humboldt (1808) observed that plant and animal diversity peaks at tropical latitudes and decreases toward the poles, a trend he attributed to more favorable temperatures in the tropics. Studies to date suggest that this temperature-diversity gradient is weak or nonexistent for Bacteria and Archaea. To test the impacts of temperature as well as pH on bacterial and archaeal diversity, we performed pyrotag sequencing of 16S rRNA genes retrieved from 165 soil, sediment and biomat samples of 36 geothermal areas in Canada and New Zealand, covering a temperature range of 7.5-99?°C and a pH range of 1.8-9.0. This represents the widest ranges of temperature and pH yet examined in a single microbial diversity study. Species richness and diversity indices were strongly correlated to temperature, with R(2) values up to 0.62 for neutral-alkaline springs. The distributions were unimodal, with peak diversity at 24?°C and decreasing diversity at higher and lower temperature extremes. There was also a significant pH effect on diversity; however, in contrast to previous studies of soil microbial diversity, pH explained less of the variability (13-20%) than temperature in the geothermal samples. No correlation was observed between diversity values and latitude from the equator, and we therefore infer a direct temperature effect in our data set. These results demonstrate that temperature exerts a strong control on microbial diversity when considered over most of the temperature range within which life is possible.