Prokaryotic communities and operating metabolisms in the surface and the permafrost of Deception Island (Antarctica)

Yolanda Blanco, Olga Prieto-Ballesteros, Manuel J. Gómez, Mercedes Moreno-Paz, Miriam García-Villadangos, José Antonio Rodríguez-Manfredi, Patricia Cruz-Gil, Mónica Sánchez-Román, Luis A. Rivas, Victor Parro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this study we examined the microbial community composition and operating metabolisms on the surface and in the permafrost of Deception Island, (Antarctica) with an on site antibody microarray biosensor. Samples (down to a depth of 4.2m) were analysed with LDChip300 (Life Detector Chip), an immunosensor containing more than 300 antibodies targeted to bacterial and archaeal antigens. The immunograms showed positive antigen-antibody reactions in all surface samples (lichens, pyroclasts) and the top layer of the permafrost. The results indicated the presence of exopolysaccharides, bacteria belonging to the Alpha-, Delta- and Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Gram-positive Actinobacteria and Firmicutes, as well as archaeal species, most probably Methanobacterium spp. Positive reactions with antibodies to proteins and peptides revealed the presence of nitrogen fixation (NifHD, GlnB, HscA), methanogenic (McrB), iron homeostasis and iron scavenging (ferritins and DPS proteins) proteins, as well as ABC transporters, which indicated that these processes were operating at the time of sampling. These results were validated with other molecular ecology techniques such as oligonucleotide microarrays, 16S bacterial rRNA gene sequence analysis, aerobic viable counts and microscopy. Molecular ecology results showed a differentiated pattern along the depth of the drill, being the top active layer the most diverse, with Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and the phototrophs Cyanobacteria and Chloroflexi as dominant groups. Actinobacteria and Firmicutes were dominant in depths from 0.5 to 2m, and Betaproteobacteria from 3 to 4.2m. The geochemical analysis revealed the presence of low molecular weight organic acids (acetate, formate) which could be used by microorganisms as energy sources for sulfate, nitrate and metal reduction under anaerobic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2495-2510
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


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