The Molnár János Cave is part of the northern discharge area of the Buda Thermal Karst System, and is the largest active thermal water cave in the capital of Hungary. To compare the prokaryotic communities, reddish-brown cave wall biofilm, black biogeochemical layers, and thermal water samples from the phreatic mixing zone of the cave were subjected to three investigative approaches, scanning electron microscopy, cultivation, and molecular cloning. According to the SEM images, multilayer network structures were observed in the biofilm formed by iron-accumulating filamentous bacteria and mineral crystals. Cultivated strains belonging to Aeromonadaceae and Enterobacteriaceae were characteristic from both water and subaqueous biofilm samples. The most abundant molecular clones were representatives of the phylum Chloroflexi in the reddish-brown biofilm, the class Gammaproteobacteria in the black biogeochemical layer, and Thiobacillus (Betaproteobacteria) in the thermal water samples. The reddish-brown biofilm and black biogeochemical layer’s bacterial communities proved to be somewhat more diverse than that of the thermal water. The archaeal 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were dominated by thermophilic ammonia-oxidizer Nitrosopumilus and Nitrososphaera phylotypes in all three habitats. Considering the metabolic characteristics of known species related to the detected clones, it can be assumed that these communities may participate in the local sulfur and nitrogen cycles and may contribute to microbial mediated sulfuric acid speleogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth-Surface Processes