Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 201, Issue 7, pp 951–967 | Cite as

A combined approach of 16S rRNA and a functional marker gene, soxB to reveal the diversity of sulphur-oxidising bacteria in thermal springs

  • Y. D. JafferEmail author
  • C. S. Purushothaman
  • H. Sanath Kumar
  • A. B. Irfan
  • P. Gireesh-Babu
  • P. A. Ganie
  • R. A. H. Bhat
  • A. Vennila
Original Paper


With the advent of new molecular tools, new taxa of sulphur-oxidising bacteria (SOB) in diverse environments are being discovered. However, there is a significant gap of knowledge about the ecology and diversity of SOB in thermal springs. Here, the species diversity and phylogenetic affiliations of SOB were investigated using 16S rRNA and functional gene marker, soxB in thermal springs of Thane district of Maharashtra, India. Most SOB detected by 16S rDNA sequences belong to different operational taxonomic units (OTU’s): Firmicutes, α-, β-, γ-Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria with the dominance of first class. However, the soxB gene clone library sequences had shown affiliation with the β-, γ- and α-Proteobacteria. β-Proteobacteria-related sequences were dominant, with 53.3% clones belonging to genus Hydrogenophaga. The thiosulphate oxidation assay carried out for different isolates having distinct identity showed the mean sulphate-sulphur production from 117.86 ± 0.50 to 218.82 ± 2.56 mg SO4-S l−1 after 9 days of incubation. Also, sulphur oxidation by the genus Nitratireductor, Caldimonas, Geobacillus, Paenibacillus, Brevibacillus, Tristrella and Chelatococcus has been reported for the first time that reveals ecological widening over which thiotrophs are distributed.


Sulphur-oxidising bacteria Thermal springs Operational taxonomic units soxB gene 16s rRNA, functional gene marker 



The authors are grateful to Director and Vice-Chancellor, ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai, India for providing support and necessary facilities to carry out this experiment. The first author would like to thank K. Rateesh, P. Priti, K. Radhika, A. Barman and R. Vinothkumar for their help at different stages of this research work.


The research work was funded by ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Education, Mumbai, India.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Irrigation and Drainage EngineeringICAR-Central Soil Salinity Research InstituteKarnalIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research InstituteKochiIndia
  3. 3.Fisheries Resources, Harvest and Post Harvest DivisionICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries EducationMumbaiIndia
  4. 4.College of Fisheries ScienceBirsa Agricultural UniversityRanchiIndia
  5. 5.Fish Genetics and Biotechnology DivisionICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries EducationMumbaiIndia
  6. 6.Fisheries Resource ManagementICAR-Directorate of Cold Water Fisheries ResearchBhimtalIndia
  7. 7.Fish PathologyICAR-Directorate of Cold Water Fisheries ResearchBhimtalIndia
  8. 8.Division of Crop ProductionICAR-Sugarcane Breeding InstituteCoimbatoreIndia

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