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Naturwissenschaften. 2006 Jan;93(1):42-5. Epub 2005 Nov 15.

Metabolically active Crenarchaeota in Altamira Cave.

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Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiologia, CSIC, Apartado 1052, 41080 Sevilla, Spain.


Altamira Cave contains valuable paleolithic paintings dating back to 15,000 years. The conservation of these unique paintings is attracting increasing interest, and so, understanding microbial proliferation in Altamira Cave represents a prioritary objective. Here, we show for the first time that members of the Crenarchaeota were metabolically active components of developing microbial communities. RNA was extracted directly from the studied environment, and a number of 16S rRNA gene sequences belonging to the low-temperature Crenarchaeota were detected. Although low-temperature Crenarchaeota detected in a variety of ecosystems by using molecular techniques remain uncultured, this RNA-based study confirms an active participation of the Crenarchaeota in cave biogeochemical cycles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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