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Extremophiles. 2001 Apr;5(2):85-91.

Isolation and characterization of Thermococcus sibiricus sp. nov. from a Western Siberia high-temperature oil reservoir.

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Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.


Anaerobic organotrophic hyperthermophilic Archaea were isolated from five of eight samples from oil wells of the Samotlor oil reservoir (depth, 1,799-2,287 m; temperature, 60 degrees-84 degrees C). Three strains were isolated in pure cultures and characterized phylogenetically on the basis of comparison of the 16S rRNA gene sequences. All strains belonged to a new species of the genus Thermococcus, with Thermococcus litoralis, Thermococcus aggregans, Thermococcus fumicolans, and Thermococcus alcaliphilus being the nearest relatives (range of sequence similarity, 97.2%-98.8%). Strain MM 739 was studied in detail. The new isolate grew on peptides but not on carbohydrates. Elemental sulfur had a stimulatory effect on growth. The temperature range for growth was between 40 degrees and 88 degrees C, with the optimum at 78 degrees C; the pH range was 5.8 to 9.0, with the optimum around 7.3; and the salinity range was 0.5% to 7.0%, with the optimum at 1.8%-2.0%. The doubling time at optimal growth conditions was about 43 min. The G+C content of the DNA was 38.4 mol%. The DNA-DNA relatedness between strain MM 739 and T. litoralis was 27%; between strain MM 739 and T. aggregans, it was 22%. Based on the phenotypic and genomic differences with known Thermococcus species, the new species Thermococcus sibiricus is proposed. The isolation of a hyperthermophilic archaeum from a deep subsurface environment, significantly remote from shallow or abyssal marine hot vents, indicates the existence of a subterranean biosphere inhabited by indigenous hyperthermophilic biota.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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