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Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2007      Isolation, Characterization, and Ecology of Sulfur-Respiring Crenarchaea Inhabiting Acid-Sulfate-Chloride-Containing Geothermal Springs in Yellowstone National Park
Eric S. Boyd, Robert A. Jackson, Gem Encarnacion, James A. Zahn, Trevor Beard, William D. Leavitt, Yundan Pi, Chuanlun L. Zhang, Ann Pearson and Gill G. Geesey
Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2007

Elemental sulfur (S0) is associated with many geochemically diverse hot springs, yet little is known about the phylogeny, physiology, and ecology of the organisms involved in its cycling. Here we report the isolation, characterization, and ecology of two novel, S0-reducing Crenarchaea from an acid geothermal spring referred to as Dragon Spring. Isolate 18U65 grows optimally at 70 to 72°C and at pH 2.5 to 3.0, while isolate 18D70 grows optimally at 81°C and pH 3.0. Both isolates are chemoorganotrophs, dependent on complex peptidecontaining carbon sources, S0, and anaerobic conditions for respiration-dependent growth. Glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) containing four to six cyclopentyl rings were present in the lipid fraction of isolates 18U65 and 18D70. Physiological characterization suggests that the isolates are adapted to the physicochemical conditions of Dragon Spring and can utilize the natural organic matter in the spring as a carbon and energy source. Quantitative PCR analysis of 16S rRNA genes associated with the S0 flocs recovered from several acid geothermal springs using isolate-specific primers indicates that these two populations together represent 17 to 37% of the floc-associated DNA. The physiological characteristics of isolates 18U65 and 18D70 are consistent with their potential widespread distribution and putative role in the cycling of sulfur in acid geothermal springs throughout the Yellowstone National Park geothermal complex. Based on phenotypic and genetic characterization, the designations Caldisphaera draconis sp. nov. and Acidilobus sulfurireducens sp. nov. are proposed for isolates 18U65 and 18D70, respectively.

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