Microbial Diversity, Distribution and Insight into Their Role in S, Fe and N Biogeochemical Cycling in the Hot Springs at Tengchong Geothermal Fields, Southwest China

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Jiwei Li, Xiaotong Peng and Lixue Zhang, Sanya Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering, Deep-sea Science Division, Sanya, China
Ten sediment samples collected from one acidic and three alkaline high temperature hot springs at Tengchong terrestrial geothermal field, Southwest China, were examined by the mineralogical, geochemical, and molecular biological techniques. The mineralogical and geochemical analyses suggested that these hot springs contain relative high concentrations of S, Fe and N chemical species. Specifically, the acidic hot spring was rich in Fe2+, SO42− and NH4+, while the alkaline hot springs were high in NO3-, H2S and S2O3. Analyses of 16S rRNA sequences showed their bacterial communities were dominated by Aquificae, Cyanobacteria, Deinococci-Thermus, Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Thermodesulfobacteria, while the archeal clone libraries were dominated by Desulfurococcales, Sulfolobales, and Thermoproteales. Among them, the potential S-, N- and Fe-related oxidizing and reducing prokaryote were presenting as a relative high proportion but with a great difference in diversity and metabolic approaches of each sample. These findings provide some significant implications for the microbial function in element biogeochemical cycles within the Tengchong geothermal environments: i). the distinct differences in abundance and diversity of microbial communities of geothermal sediments were related to in situ different physicochemical conditions; ii). the S-, N- and Fe-related prokaryote would take advantage of the strong chemical disequilibria in the hot springs; iii). in return, their metabolic activities can promote the transformation of S, Fe and N chemical species, thus founded the bases of biogeochemical cycles in the terrestrial geothermal environments.