PLoS One 8(3) , e59927 ( 2013)
To characterize high-temperature cellulolytic microbial communities, two lignocellulosic substrates, ammonia fiber-explosion-treated corn stover and aspen shavings, were incubated at average temperatures of 77 and 85 degrees C in the sediment and water column of Great Boiling Spring, Nevada. Comparison of 109,941 quality-filtered 16S rRNA gene pyrosequences (pyrotags) from eight enrichments to 37,057 quality-filtered pyrotags from corresponding natural samples revealed distinct enriched communities dominated by phylotypes related to cellulolytic and hemicellulolytic Thermotoga and Dictyoglomus, cellulolytic and sugar-fermenting Desulfurococcales, and sugar-fermenting and hydrogenotrophic Archaeoglobales. Minor enriched populations included close relatives of hydrogenotrophic Thermodesulfobacteria, the candidate bacterial phylum OP9, and candidate archaeal groups C2 and DHVE3. Enrichment temperature was the major factor influencing community composition, with a negative correlation between temperature and richness, followed by lignocellulosic substrate composition. This study establishes the importance of these groups in the natural degradation of lignocellulose at high temperatures and suggests that a substantial portion of the diversity of thermophiles contributing to consortial cellulolysis may be contained within lineages that have representatives in pure culture.