Description and significance
Vulcanisaeta is an anaerobic, heterotrophic, hyperthermophilic archaeon that grows optimally at 85–90°C and at pH 4.0–4.5. The organism is isolated from samples collected directly from solfataric fields or piped hot spring water in eastern Japan.
Several Vulcanisaeta genomes have been sequenced, see List of sequenced archeal genomes. The G + C content of its DNA, which is between 44 to 46%, is predicted to be relatively lower than other members of the Thermoproteaceae genera.
Cell structure and metabolism
The cells of Vulcanisaeta are straight to slightly curved rods, which range from 0.4 to 0.6 µm in width. In some cases, the cells are branched or bear spherical bodies at the terminals. The archaeon utilizes maltose, starch, malate, yeast extract, peptone, beef extract, casamino acids and gelatin as carbon sources, cannot utilize D-arabinose, D-fructose, lactose, sucrose, D-xylose, acetate, butyrate, formate, fumarate, propionate, pyruvate, succinate, methanol, fomamide, methylamine or trimethylamine. As electron acceptors, the organism uses sulfur and thiosulfate. Unlike some other genetically similar archaea such as Thermocladium or Caldivirga, Vulcanisaeta grows in the absence of vitamin mixture or archaeal cell-extract solution in the medium.
Strains of Vulcanisaeta were found in hot spring areas in Japan. Despite the organisms being the most common rod-shaped crenarchaeote among isolates from hot springs in Japan, it has not isolated from other countries. This contrasts with the genera Thermoproteus and Pyrobaculum, which are distributed worldwide, including the Azores, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, Russia, and the USA. Therefore, it is possible that the genus Vulcanisaeta has a restricted distribution that includes Japan.
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