, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 635-642

Microbial Diversity in Nankai Trough Sediments at a Depth of 3,843 m

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Abstract

Dense populations of bivalves, primarily Calyptogena sp., were observed at cold seeps of the Nankai Trough. Bacterial input to the sediment was estimated through determination of phospholipid ester-linked fatty acid (PLFA) and DNA profiles. Results indicated a bacterial biomass of 109 cells (g dry wt)-1 while individual fatty acid profiles revealed a predominance of monounsaturated fatty acids, mainly 18:1 isomers. The presence of these fatty acids can be interpreted to reflect a response to low temperature and a predominance of psychrophilic bacteria. DNA fragments encoding bacterial ribosomal RNA small-subunit sequences (16S rDNA) were amplified by the polymerase chain reaction method using DNA extracted directly from the sediment samples. From the sequencing results, at least 19 kinds of bacterial 16S rDNAs related to mostly the Proteobacteria and a few gram-positive bacteria were identified. These results suggest that the bacterial community in the Nankai Trough sediments consists of mainly bacteria belonging to the Proteobacteria γ, ε, and δ subdivisions. Bacteria belonging to the ε and δ subdivisions, which are known to include epibiont and sulfate reducing bacteria, respectively, were mostly detected in the sediment obtained from inside the area of the Calyptogena community, and the δ-Proteobacteria may function to supply reduced sulfur to bacterial endosymbionts of Calyptogena.