Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 190, Issue 3, pp 371–377

An archaeal bi-species biofilm formed by Pyrococcus furiosus and Methanopyrus kandleri

  • Simone Schopf
  • Gerhard Wanner
  • Reinhard Rachel
  • Reinhard Wirth
Original Paper


Recently it was shown that Pyrococcus furiosus uses its flagella not only for swimming, but also for establishment of cell–cell connections, and for adhesion to abiotic surfaces. Therefore, it was asked here if P. furiosus might be able to adhere also to biotic surfaces. Since Methanopyrus kandleri can be found in habitats similar to those of P. furiosus (seawater close to the boiling point and anaerobic conditions) it was tested if interactions between both archaea occur. Using a standard medium and a gas phase reduced in H2 (compared with the optimal gas phase for M. kandleri) we were able to grow both species in a stable coculture. Very interestingly, M. kandleri could adhere to glass under such conditions, but not P. furiosus. This latter archaeum, however, was able to adhere onto M. kandleri cells and onto itself, resulting in structured biofilms on glass. These very often appeared as a bottom layer of M. kandleri cells covered by a multitude of P. furiosus cells. Interactions between P. furiosus and M. kandleri were mediated not only by flagella, but also by direct cell–cell contact.


Archaea Biofilm Pyrococcus furiosus Methanopyrus kandleri 



Transmission electron microscopy


Scanning electron microscopy


Extracellular polymeric substance(s)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Schopf
    • 1
  • Gerhard Wanner
    • 2
  • Reinhard Rachel
    • 1
  • Reinhard Wirth
    • 1
  1. 1.Mikrobiologie—NWF III; ArchaeenzentrumUniversität RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Biology I, Botanical InstituteUniversity of MunichMunichGermany

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