Comparative Metagenomics of Eight Geographically Remote Terrestrial Hot Springs
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- Menzel, P., Gudbergsdóttir, S.R., Rike, A.G. et al. Microb Ecol (2015) 70: 411. doi:10.1007/s00248-015-0576-9
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Hot springs are natural habitats for thermophilic Archaea and Bacteria. In this paper, we present the metagenomic analysis of eight globally distributed terrestrial hot springs from China, Iceland, Italy, Russia, and the USA with a temperature range between 61 and 92 ∘C and pH between 1.8 and 7. A comparison of the biodiversity and community composition generally showed a decrease in biodiversity with increasing temperature and decreasing pH. Another important factor shaping microbial diversity of the studied sites was the abundance of organic substrates. Several species of the Crenarchaeal order Thermoprotei were detected, whereas no single bacterial species was found in all samples, suggesting a better adaptation of certain archaeal species to different thermophilic environments. Two hot springs show high abundance of Acidithiobacillus, supporting the idea of a true thermophilic Acidithiobacillus species that can thrive in hyperthermophilic environments. Depending on the sample, up to 58 % of sequencing reads could not be assigned to a known phylum, reinforcing the fact that a large number of microorganisms in nature, including those thriving in hot environments remain to be isolated and characterized.