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Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 136714, 13 pages
Research Article

Microbial Diversity and Biochemical Potential Encoded by Thermal Spring Metagenomes Derived from the Kamchatka Peninsula

1Department of Genomic and Applied Microbiology and Goettingen Genomics Laboratory, Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Grisebachstraße 8, 37077 Goettingen, Germany
2Section of Agricultural Entomology, Department for Crop Sciences, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Grisebachstraße 6, 37077 Goettingen, Germany

Received 21 November 2012; Accepted 6 January 2013

Academic Editor: Michael Hoppert

Copyright © 2013 Bernd Wemheuer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Volcanic regions contain a variety of environments suitable for extremophiles. This study was focused on assessing and exploiting the prokaryotic diversity of two microbial communities derived from different Kamchatkian thermal springs by metagenomic approaches. Samples were taken from a thermoacidophilic spring near the Mutnovsky Volcano and from a thermophilic spring in the Uzon Caldera. Environmental DNA for metagenomic analysis was isolated from collected sediment samples by direct cell lysis. The prokaryotic community composition was examined by analysis of archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA genes. A total number of 1235 16S rRNA gene sequences were obtained and used for taxonomic classification. Most abundant in the samples were members of Thaumarchaeota, Thermotogae, and Proteobacteria. The Mutnovsky hot spring was dominated by the Terrestrial Hot Spring Group, Kosmotoga, and Acidithiobacillus. The Uzon Caldera was dominated by uncultured members of the Miscellaneous Crenarchaeotic Group and Enterobacteriaceae. The remaining 16S rRNA gene sequences belonged to the Aquificae, Dictyoglomi, Euryarchaeota, Korarchaeota, Thermodesulfobacteria, Firmicutes, and some potential new phyla. In addition, the recovered DNA was used for generation of metagenomic libraries, which were subsequently mined for genes encoding lipolytic and proteolytic enzymes. Three novel genes conferring lipolytic and one gene conferring proteolytic activity were identified.