, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 307–317 | Cite as

Microbial diversity and autotrophic activity in Kamchatka hot springs

  • Alexander Yu. Merkel
  • Nikolay V. Pimenov
  • Igor I. Rusanov
  • Alexander I. Slobodkin
  • Galina B. Slobodkina
  • Ivan Yu. Tarnovetckii
  • Evgeny N. Frolov
  • Arseny V. Dubin
  • Anna A. Perevalova
  • Elizaveta A. Bonch-Osmolovskaya
Original Paper


Microbial communities of Kamchatka Peninsula terrestrial hot springs were studied using molecular, radioisotopic and cultural approaches. Analysis of 16S rRNA gene fragments performed by means of high-throughput sequencing revealed that aerobic autotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria of the genus Sulfurihydrogenibium (phylum Aquificae) dominated in a majority of streamers. Another widely distributed and abundant group was that of anaerobic bacteria of the genus Caldimicrobium (phylum Thermodesulfobacteria). Archaea of the genus Vulcanisaeta were abundant in a high-temperature, slightly acidic hot spring, where they were accompanied by numerous Nanoarchaeota, while the domination of uncultured Thermoplasmataceae A10 was characteristic for moderately thermophilic acidic habitats. The highest rates of inorganic carbon assimilation determined by the in situ incubation of samples in the presence of 14C-labeled bicarbonate were found in oxygen-dependent streamers; in two sediment samples taken from the hottest springs this process, though much weaker, was found to be not dependent on oxygen. The isolation of anaerobic lithoautotrophic prokaryotes from Kamchatka hot springs revealed a wide distribution of the ability for sulfur disproportionation, a new lithoautotrophic process capable to fuel autonomous anaerobic ecosystems.


Terrestrial hot springs Lithoautotrophs Carbon assimilation Sulfur disproportionation Sulfurihydrogenibium Caldimicrobium Archaea 



This work was supported by the grant of Russian Science Foundation #14-04-00165. We are grateful to the staff of Kronotsky Nature Reserve for their assistance in the organization of field studies in the Uzon Caldera. All authors have seen and approved the final version submitted. All local, national and international regulations and conventions as well as normal scientific ethical practices have been respected.

Conflict of interest

We state no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Yu. Merkel
    • 1
  • Nikolay V. Pimenov
    • 1
  • Igor I. Rusanov
    • 1
  • Alexander I. Slobodkin
    • 1
  • Galina B. Slobodkina
    • 1
  • Ivan Yu. Tarnovetckii
    • 1
  • Evgeny N. Frolov
    • 1
  • Arseny V. Dubin
    • 1
  • Anna A. Perevalova
    • 1
  • Elizaveta A. Bonch-Osmolovskaya
    • 1
  1. 1.Winogradsky Institute of MicrobiologyResearch Center of Biotechnology of the Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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