, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 42–45 | Cite as

Metabolically active Crenarchaeota in Altamira Cave

  • Juan M. GonzalezEmail author
  • M. Carmen Portillo
  • Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez
Short Communication


Altamira Cave contains valuable paleolithic paintings dating back to 15,000 years. The conservation of these unique paintings is attracting increasing interest, and so, understanding microbial proliferation in Altamira Cave represents a prioritary objective. Here, we show for the first time that members of the Crenarchaeota were metabolically active components of developing microbial communities. RNA was extracted directly from the studied environment, and a number of 16S rRNA gene sequences belonging to the low-temperature Crenarchaeota were detected. Although low-temperature Crenarchaeota detected in a variety of ecosystems by using molecular techniques remain uncultured, this RNA-based study confirms an active participation of the Crenarchaeota in cave biogeochemical cycles.


Microbial Community Archaea Archaeal Community Microbial Colonization Fusarium Solani 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors acknowledge support through a contract with the Ministry of Culture, and projects BTE2002-04492, REN2002-00041, and the Ramon y Cajal program from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (MEC).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan M. Gonzalez
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. Carmen Portillo
    • 1
  • Cesareo Saiz-Jimenez
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiologia, CSICSevillaSpain

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