Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 160, Issue 5, pp 338–349 | Cite as

Pyrococcus abyssi sp. nov., a new hyperthermophilic archaeon isolated from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent

  • Gaël Erauso
  • Anna-Louise Reysenbach
  • Anne Godfroy
  • Jean-Roch Meunier
  • Byron Crump
  • Frédéric Partensky
  • John A. Baross
  • Viggo Marteinsson
  • Georges Barbier
  • Norman R. Pace
  • Daniel Prieur
Original Papers


A novel, hyperthermophilic, anaerobic, sulfurmetabolizing archaeon was isolated from a fluid sample from recently discovered hydrothermal vents in the North Fiji basin (SW Pacific), at 2000 m depth. The new organism, strain GE5, is a gram-negative, highly motile coccus. It grows between 67° and 102°C under atmospheric pressure, with an optimum at 96°C (doubling time 33 min). The upper growth temperature is extended by at least 3°C when cells are cultivated under in situ hydrostatic pressures (20 MPa). Strain GE5 is an obligate heterotroph, fermenting peptides, or mixtures of amino acids to acetate, isovalerate, isobutyrate, propionate, H2 and CO2. Hydrogen inhibits growth unless sulfur is present. In the presence of sulfur, H2S is then produced. Phylogenetic analyses of the 16 S rRNA sequence of strain GE5 places the new isolate within the Thermococcales. By its high growth temperature and physiological features the new isolate ressembles Pyrococcus sp. However it deffers by a 7% mol upper G+C-content and shows low level of DNA similarity with the two previously described species. Based on these differences the description of strain GE5 as a new species Pyrococcus abyssi (CNCM I-1302) is proposed.

Key words

Archaea Hyperthermophile Hydrostatic pressure Pyrococcus Deep-sea vent 


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gaël Erauso
    • 1
  • Anna-Louise Reysenbach
    • 2
  • Anne Godfroy
    • 3
  • Jean-Roch Meunier
    • 4
  • Byron Crump
    • 5
  • Frédéric Partensky
    • 1
  • John A. Baross
    • 5
  • Viggo Marteinsson
    • 1
  • Georges Barbier
    • 3
  • Norman R. Pace
    • 2
  • Daniel Prieur
  1. 1.Station BiologiqueCNRS UPR 4601RoscoffFrance
  2. 2.Department of BiologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.IFREMER Centre de Brest: Environment ProfondPlouzanéFrance
  4. 4.Unité des entérobactériesInstitut PasteurParis CédexFrance
  5. 5.School of OceanographyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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