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Scientific classification
Type species
Ca. Hadesararchaeum tengchongensis Ca. Methanourarchaum thermotelluricum

Hadesarchaea, formerly called the South-African Gold Mine Miscellaneous Euryarchaeal Group, are a class of thermophile microorganisms that have been found in deep mines, hot springs, marine sediments and other subterranean environments.[1][2][3][4][5]


These archaea were initially called South-African Gold Mine Miscellaneous Euryarchaeal Group (SAGMEG) after their initial site of discovery.[6][7] The name Hadesarchaea was proposed by Baker et al. in 2016, a reference to the Greek god of the underworld.[1]


Previously, Hadesarchaea (or SAGMEG) were only known to exist through their distinctive phylogenetic position in the tree of life. In 2016, scientists using metagenomic shotgun sequencing were able to assemble several near-full genomes of these archaea.[1] It was shown that the genome of Hadesarchaea is approximately 1.5 Megabase pairs in size,[1] which is about 0.5 Mbp smaller than most archaea.[8] These archaea have not been successfully cultivated in the laboratory, but their metabolic properties have been inferred from the genomic reconstructions.[1] Hadesarchaea may have evolved from a methanogenic ancestor based on the genetic similarity with other methanogenic organisms.[9]

Habitat and metabolism[edit]

These microbes were first discovered in a gold mine in South Africa at a depth of approximately 3 km (2 mi),[6] where they are able to live without oxygen or light.[8][10][11] They were later also found in the White Oak River estuary in North Carolina and in Yellowstone National Park's Lower Culex Basin.[12] These areas are approximately 70 °C (158 °F) and highly alkaline.[12] Based on phylogenetic marker gene survey, Hadesarchaeota might be present in soils in ancient mining areas in East Harz region, Germany.[13]

Hadesarchaea are unique among known archaea in that they can convert carbon monoxide and water to carbon dioxide and oxygen, producing hydrogen as a by-product. From metagenome-assembled genome (MAG) data, Hadesarchaea possess genes associated with Wood-Ljungdahl carbon fixation pathway, methanogenesis and alkane metabolism.[14] [15] Hadesarchaeal genomes have also been reported to contain genes that enable them to metabolize sugars and amino acids in a heterotrophic lifestyle, and perform dissimilatory nitrite reduction to ammonium.[1][3] Initial research suggests that these organisms are also involved in significant geochemical processes.[1]

Because of their relatively small genome, it is assumed that the genomes of Hadesarchaea have been subjected to genome streamlining, possibly as a result of nutrient limitation.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Baker, Brett J.; Saw, Jimmy H.; Lind, Anders E.; Lazar, Cassandra Sara; Hinrichs, Kai-Uwe; Teske, Andreas P.; Ettema, Thijs J.G. (February 16, 2016). "Genomic inference of the metabolism of cosmopolitan subsurface Archaea, Hadesarchaea". Nature Microbiology. 1 (3): 16002. doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.2. PMID 27572167.
  2. ^ Parkes, R. John; Webster, Gordon; Cragg, Barry A.; Weightman, Andrew J.; Newberry, Carole J.; Ferdelman, Timothy G.; Kallmeyer, Jens; Jørgensen, Bo B.; Aiello, Ivano W.; Fry, John C. (July 2007). "Deep sub-seafloor prokaryotes stimulated at interfaces over geological time" (PDF). Nature. 436 (7049): 390–394. doi:10.1038/nature03796. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 16034418. S2CID 4390333.
  3. ^ a b Biddle, J. F.; Lipp, J. S.; Lever, M. A.; Lloyd, K. G.; Sorensen, K. B.; Anderson, R.; Fredricks, H. F.; Elvert, M.; Kelly, T. J.; Schrag, D. P.; Sogin, M. L. (2006-02-27). "Heterotrophic Archaea dominate sedimentary subsurface ecosystems off Peru". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 103 (10): 3846–3851. doi:10.1073/pnas.0600035103. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 1533785. PMID 16505362.
  4. ^ Purkamo, Lotta; Bomberg, Malin; Kietäväinen, Riikka; Salavirta, Heikki; Nyyssönen, Mari; Nuppunen-Puputti, Maija; Ahonen, Lasse; Kukkonen, Ilmo; Itävaara, Merja (2016-05-30). "Microbial co-occurrence patterns in deep Precambrian bedrock fracture fluids". Biogeosciences. 13 (10): 3091–3108. doi:10.5194/bg-13-3091-2016. ISSN 1726-4189.
  5. ^ Bomberg, Malin; Nyyssönen, Mari; Pitkänen, Petteri; Lehtinen, Anne; Itävaara, Merja (2015). "Active Microbial Communities Inhabit Sulphate-Methane Interphase in Deep Bedrock Fracture Fluids in Olkiluoto, Finland". BioMed Research International. 2015: 979530. doi:10.1155/2015/979530. ISSN 2314-6133. PMC 4573625. PMID 26425566.
  6. ^ a b Ettema, Thijs (February 17, 2016). "New paper about the Hadesarchaea published!". Ettema Lab. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  7. ^ Takai, K.; Moser, D. P.; DeFlaun, M.; Onstott, T. C.; Fredrickson, J. K. (2001-12-01). "Archaeal Diversity in Waters from Deep South African Gold Mines". Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 67 (12): 5750–5760. doi:10.1128/aem.67.21.5750-5760.2001. ISSN 0099-2240. PMC 93369. PMID 11722932.
  8. ^ a b "Hadesarchaea: a New Archaeal Class of Cosmopolitan Deep Microbes". Deep Carbon Observatory. February 18, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  9. ^ Evans, Paul N.; Boyd, Joel A.; Leu, Andy O.; Woodcroft, Ben J.; Parks, Donovan H.; Hugenholtz, Philip; Tyson, Gene W. (April 2019). "An evolving view of methane metabolism in the Archaea". Nature Reviews Microbiology. 17 (4): 219–232. doi:10.1038/s41579-018-0136-7. ISSN 1740-1534. PMID 30664670. S2CID 58572324.
  10. ^ "Scientists discover new microbes that thrive deep in the earth" (Press release). Uppsala University. February 15, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  11. ^ "Underworld microbes shock scientists: Mystery of Hadesarchaea". India Today. New Delhi. February 17, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Atherton, Matt (February 15, 2016). "God of the underworld microbes Hadesarchaea discovered living on toxic gas deep below Yellowstone hot springs". IB Times. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  13. ^ Köhler, J. Michael; Kalensee, Franziska; Cao, Jialan; Günther, P. Mike (2019-07-09). "Hadesarchaea and other extremophile bacteria from ancient mining areas of the East Harz region (Germany) suggest an ecological long-term memory of soil". SN Applied Sciences. 1 (8): 839. doi:10.1007/s42452-019-0874-9. ISSN 2523-3971.
  14. ^ Hua, Zheng-Shuang; Wang, Yu-Lin; Evans, Paul N.; Qu, Yan-Ni; Goh, Kian Mau; Rao, Yang-Zhi; Qi, Yan-Ling; Li, Yu-Xian; Huang, Min-Jun; Jiao, Jian-Yu; Chen, Ya-Ting (2019-10-08). "Insights into the ecological roles and evolution of methyl-coenzyme M reductase-containing hot spring Archaea". Nature Communications. 10 (1): 4574. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-12574-y. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 6783470. PMID 31594929.
  15. ^ Wang, Yinzhao; Wegener, Gunter; Hou, Jialin; Wang, Fengping; Xiao, Xiang (2019-03-04). "Expanding anaerobic alkane metabolism in the domain of Archaea" (PDF). Nature Microbiology. 4 (4): 595–602. doi:10.1038/s41564-019-0364-2. ISSN 2058-5276. PMID 30833728. S2CID 71145257.