Shawn E. McGlynn
- Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology · The Japanese Society of Soil Microbiology
- Microbes and Environments (ISSN:13426311)
- pp.ME18030, (Released:2018-11-07)
Chemosynthetic microbial communities develop and form dense cell aggregates in slightly alkaline sulfidic hot springs in the temperature range of 70–86°C at Nakabusa, Japan. Nitrogenase activity has recently been detected in the microbial communities collected. To identify possible members capable of nitrogen fixation, we examined the diversities of 16S rRNA and nitrogenase reductase (NifH) gene sequences in four types of chemosynthetic communities with visually different colors and thicknesses. The results of a 16S rRNA gene analysis indicated that all four microbial communities had similar bacterial constituents; the phylum Aquificae was the dominant member, followed in abundance by Thermodesulfobacteria, Firmicutes, and Thermotogae. Most of the NifH sequences were related to sequences reported in hydrothermal vents and terrestrial hot springs. The results of a phylogenetic analysis of NifH sequences revealed diversity in this gene among the communities collected, distributed within 7 phylogenetic groups. NifH sequences affiliated with Aquificae (Hydrogenobacter/Thermocrinis) and Firmicutes (Caldicellulosiruptor) were abundant. At least two different energy metabolic pathways appeared to be related to nitrogen fixation in the communities analyzed; aerobic sulfur/hydrogen-oxidizing bacteria in Aquificae and fermentative bacteria in Firmicutes. The metabolic characteristics of these two dominant phyla differed from those previously inferred from nitrogenase activity assays on chemosynthetic communities, which were associated with hydrogen-dependent autotrophic sulfate reduction. These assays may correspond to the observed NifH sequences that are distantly related to the known species of Thermodesulfovibrio sp. (Nitrospirae) detected in the present study. The activities of nitrogen-fixing organisms in communities may depend on redox states as well as the availability of electron donors, acceptors, and carbon sources.