Temperature and pH control on lipid composition of silica sinters from diverse hot springs in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand

Gurpreet Kaur*, Bruce W. Mountain, Matthew B. Stott, Ellen C. Hopmans, Richard D. Pancost

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microbial adaptations to environmental extremes, including high temperature and low pH conditions typical of geothermal settings, are of interest in astrobiology and origin of life investigations. The lipid biomarkers preserved in silica deposits associated with six geothermal areas in the Taupo Volcanic Zone were investigated and variations in lipid composition as a function of temperature and pH were assessed. Lipid analyses reveal highly variable abundances and distributions, reflecting community composition as well as adaptations to extremes of pH and temperature. Biomarker profiles reveal three distinct microbial assemblages across the sites: the first in Champagne Pool and Loop Road, the second in Orakei Korako, Opaheke and Ngatamariki, and the third in Rotokawa. Similar lipid distributions are observed in sinters from physicochemically similar springs. Furthermore, correlation between lipid distributions and geothermal conditions is observed. The ratio of archaeol to bacterial diether abundance, bacterial diether average chain length, degree of GDGT cyclisation and C31 and C32 hopanoic acid indices typically increase with temperature. At lower pH, the ratio of archaeol to bacterial diethers, degree of GDGT cyclisation and C31 and C32 hopanoic acid indices are typically higher. No trends in fatty acid distributions with temperature or pH are evident, likely reflecting overprinting due to population influences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-344
Number of pages18
JournalExtremophiles
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Archaeol
  • Bacterial diether
  • Hopanoid
  • Hot spring
  • Lipid
  • Tetraether

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