2008 Volume 23 Issue 1 Pages 66-72
The role of microbes in the early development of ecosystems on new volcanic materials seems to be crucial to primary plant succession but is not well characterized. Here we analyzed the bacterial community colonizing 22-year-old volcanic deposits of the Miyake-jima Island (Japan) using culture-based and 16S rRNA gene clone library methods. The majority of 91 bacterial isolates were placed phylogenetically in two clusters (A and B) of the Betaproteobacteria. Cluster A (82% of isolates) was related to the genus Limnobacter and Cluster B (9%) was affiliated with the Herbaspirillum clade. The clone library analysis supported the predominance of Cluster B rather than Cluster A. Strain KP1-50 of Cluster B was able to grow on a mineral medium under an atmosphere of H2, O2, and CO2 (85:5:10), and characterized by its large-subunit gene of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (rbcL) and nitrogenase reductase gene (nifH). In contrast, strains of Cluster A did not grow chemolithoautotrophically with H2, O2, and CO2 but increased their cell biomass with the addition of thiosulfate to the succinate medium, suggesting the use of thiosulfate as an energy source. From phenotypic characterization, it was suggested that the Cluster A and B strains were novel species in the genus Limnobacter and Herbaspirillum, respectively.