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Cultivation of the first isolates from candidate division OP10

We have cultivated a number of strains belonging to candidate division OP10 from geothermal soils within the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ)(1). The OP candidate divisions were first detected in Obsidian Pool hotspring in Yellowstone National Park(2) in 1994, the majority of which remain uncultivated. Over a hundred 16S rRNA sequences have been documented for OP10 from a broad range of environments including geothermal springs, municipal plants, lake and river planktonic communities, endolithic communities, mesophilic soils, hypersaline mats and manure.

Our New Zealand isolates represent the first-ever cultivated bacterial isolates from this diverse candidate division.

Figure 1: Scanning and transmission electron micrographs of candidate division OP10 isolate P488. Scale bar = 1 µm.

Figure 1: Scanning and transmission electron micrographs of candidate division OP10 isolate P488. Scale bar = 1 µm.

Our OP10 isolates were enriched and isolated from multiple sites across the TVZ. The isolates are thermophiles that grow optimally at 60-65 ºC, aerobically and at moderately acidic pH's. They form distinctively red/pink colonies on solid medium and have classical rod shaped morphology. They grow on a range of energy sources including simple sugars and organic acids, as well as complex carbohydrates. The degradation of these cellulose-based compounds substances suggests that there may be biotechnological applications in the generation of bioethanol (biofuels).

We are continuing our research on this novel species. Currently a masters student at the University of Waikato is characterising it's metabolic and physiological traits. We are also in the process of extracting and sequencing the genome of this species with the University of Hawaii, to better understand the metabolic strategies phylogeny and it's ecological role in the environment.

References

  1. Stott, M.B., Crowe, M.A., Mountain, B.W., Smirnova, A.V., Alam, M., and Dunfield, P.F. (2008) Isolation of novel bacteria, including a candidate division, from geothermal soils in New Zealand. Environ. Microbiol. 10:2030-2041.
  2. Hugenholtz, P., Pitulle, C., Hershberger, K.J., and Pace, N.R. (1998) Novel division level bacterial diversity in a Yellowstone hot spring. J Bacteriol 180: 366-376.