Microbial life in Champagne Pool, a geothermal spring in Waiotapu, New Zealand
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Surveys of Champagne Pool, one of New Zealand’s largest terrestrial hot springs and rich in arsenic ions and compounds, have been restricted to geological and geochemical descriptions, and a few microbiological studies applying culture-independent methods. In the current investigation, a combination of culture and culture-independent approaches were chosen to determine microbial density and diversity in Champagne Pool. Recovered total DNA and adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) content of spring water revealed relatively low values compared to other geothermal springs within New Zealand and are in good agreement with low cell numbers of 5.6 ± 0.5 × 106 cells/ml obtained for Champagne Pool water samples by 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining. Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) and 16S rRNA (small-subunit ribosomal nucleic acid) gene clone library analyses of environmental DNA indicated the abundance of Sulfurihydrogenibium, Sulfolobus, and Thermofilum-like populations in Champagne Pool. From these results, media were selected to target the enrichment of hydrogen-oxidizing and sulfur-dependent microorganisms. Three isolates were successfully obtained having 16S rRNA gene sequences with similarities of ∼98% to Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis, 94% to Sulfurihydrogenibium azorense, and 99% to Thermococcus waiotapuensis, respectively.
KeywordsChampagne Pool Waiotapu Geothermal Thermophilic microorganisms Hydrogen-oxidizer Sulfate-reducer Arsenic
Research funding was provided by the New Zealand Foundation of Research, Science and Technology (Contract Number C05X0303: Extremophilic Microorganisms for Metal Sequestration from Aqueous Solutions). The authors are grateful to Richard Fulton for permission to collect samples from Champagne Pool and Helen M. Turner who helped to take the SEM micrographs used in this paper. A. Hetzer is indebted to his beloved wife for her encouragement and support. The editor and the two reviewers offered comments and suggestions that greatly improved this manuscript.
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