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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Jun;68(6):3046-54.

Isolation and metabolic characteristics of previously uncultured members of the order aquificales in a subsurface gold mine.

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  • 1Sunground Animalcule Retrieval (SUGAR) Project, Frontier Research System for Extremophiles, Japan Marine Science & Technology Center, 2-15 Natsushima-cho, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan.


Culture-dependent and -independent techniques were combined to characterize the physiological properties and the ecological impacts of culture-resistant phylotypes of thermophiles within the order Aquificales from a subsurface hot aquifer of a Japanese gold mine. Thermophilic bacteria phylogenetically associated with previously uncultured phylotypes of Aquificales were successfully isolated. 16S ribosomal DNA clone analysis of the entire microbial DNA assemblage and fluorescence in situ whole-cell hybridization analysis indicated that the isolates dominated the microbial population in the subsurface aquifer. The isolates were facultatively anaerobic, hydrogen- or sulfur/thiosulfate-oxidizing, thermophilic chemolithoautotrophs utilizing molecular oxygen, nitrate, ferric iron, arsenate, selenate, and selenite as electron acceptors. Their versatile energy-generating systems may reflect the geochemical conditions of their habitat in the geothermally active subsurface gold mine.

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