Microbiology of thermal vents

Our objectives are to observe, enrich, isolate, and identify bacteria from hot springs in the Mount St. Helens area. If any previously undescribed isolates are found, we will characterize them. In two trips to the area so far, we have observed the following: Cyanobacterial (blue-green algal) mats containing filamentous forms, some with heterocysts; filaments with the appearance of the sulfur oxidizer Beggiatoa or Thiothrix; and numerous rod shaped and coccus shaped bacteria. From anoxic sediment at 60oC, we obtained an enrichment of methanogenic bacteria that appeared similar to Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum. We also obtained an enrichment of the green non-sulfur photosynthetic bacterium, Chloroflexus. We observed few organisms in a vent at 85oC.


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