, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 177–187 | Cite as

Thermoplasmatales and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria dominate the microbial community at the surface water of a CO2-rich hydrothermal spring located in Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

  • Alejandro Arce-Rodríguez
  • Fernando Puente-Sánchez
  • Roberto Avendaño
  • María Martínez-Cruz
  • J. Maarten de Moor
  • Dietmar H. Pieper
  • Max ChavarríaEmail author
Original Paper


Here we report the chemical and microbial characterization of the surface water of a CO2-rich hydrothermal vent known in Costa Rica as Borbollones, located at Tenorio Volcano National Park. The Borbollones showed a temperature surrounding 60 °C, a pH of 2.4 and the gas released has a composition of ~ 97% CO2, ~ 0.07% H2S, ~ 2.3% N2 and ~ 0.12% CH4. Other chemical species such as sulfate and iron were found at high levels with respect to typical fresh water bodies. Analysis by 16S rRNA gene metabarcoding revealed that in Borbollones predominates an archaeon from the order Thermoplasmatales and one bacterium from the genus Sulfurimonas. Other sulfur- (genera Thiomonas, Acidithiobacillus, Sulfuriferula, and Sulfuricurvum) and iron-oxidizing bacteria (genera Sideroxydans, Gallionella, and Ferrovum) were identified. Our results show that CO2-influenced surface water of Borbollones contains microorganisms that are usually found in acid rock drainage environments or sulfur-rich hydrothermal vents. To our knowledge, this is the first microbiological characterization of a CO2-dominated hydrothermal spring from Central America and expands our understanding of those extreme ecosystems.


Borbollones Wet mofette CO2-rich thermal Archaea Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria Tenorio Volcano National Park 



We acknowledge the support during field work from the park rangers at Tenorio Volcano National Park and the SINAC administration. We also are grateful to Arnoldo Vargas for help in the design of some figures.

Author contributions

AA-R, FP-S, MC conceived and designed the experiments. AA-R, RA, MM-C, MdM performed the experiments. AA-R, FP-S, MC analyzed the data. DHP, MC contributed reagents or materials or analysis tools. AA-R, FP-S, DHP, MC wrote the paper. All authors reviewed and approved the final version of the manuscript.


The Vice-rectory of Research of Universidad de Costa Rica (809-B6-524), CENIBiot and by the ERC grant IPBSL (ERC250350-IPBSL) supported this research. Data Intensive Academic Grid, which is supported by the USA National Science Foundation (0959894) provided computational resources. F.P-S. is supported by the Spanish Economy and Competitiveness Ministry (MINECO) grant CTM2016-80095-C2-1-R. MMC acknowledges government funding from the Transitorio I of the National Law 8488 for Emergencies and Risk Prevention in Costa Rica. JMdM gratefully acknowledges support from the Deep Carbon Observatory Biology Meets Subduction project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This study does not describe any experimental work related to human.

Supplementary material

792_2018_1072_MOESM1_ESM.docx (24 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 23 kb)
792_2018_1072_MOESM2_ESM.tiff (12.2 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (TIFF 12514 kb)
792_2018_1072_MOESM3_ESM.xlsx (39 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (XLSX 38 kb)

Supplementary material 4 (MOV 70971 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandro Arce-Rodríguez
    • 1
    • 2
    • 8
  • Fernando Puente-Sánchez
    • 3
  • Roberto Avendaño
    • 4
  • María Martínez-Cruz
    • 5
  • J. Maarten de Moor
    • 5
  • Dietmar H. Pieper
    • 2
  • Max Chavarría
    • 4
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of MicrobiologyTechnical University of BraunschweigBrunswickGermany
  2. 2.Microbial Interactions and Processes Research GroupHelmholtz Centre for Infection ResearchBrunswickGermany
  3. 3.Systems Biology ProgramCentro Nacional de Biotecnología (CNB-CSIC)MadridSpain
  4. 4.Centro Nacional de Innovaciones Biotecnológicas (CENIBiot)San JoséCosta Rica
  5. 5.Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional (OVSICORI-UNA)HerediaCosta Rica
  6. 6.Escuela de QuímicaUniversidad de Costa Rica, Sede CentralSan JoséCosta Rica
  7. 7.Centro de Investigaciones en Productos Naturales (CIPRONA)Universidad de Costa Rica, Sede CentralSan JoséCosta Rica
  8. 8.Molecular Bacteriology Research GroupHelmholtz Centre for Infection ResearchBrunswickGermany

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