The novel bacterial phylum Calditrichaeota is diverse, widespread and abundant in marine sediments and has the capacity to degrade detrital proteins

Environ Microbiol Rep. 2017 Aug;9(4):397-403. doi: 10.1111/1758-2229.12544. Epub 2017 Jun 27.


Calditrichaeota is a recently recognized bacterial phylum with three cultured representatives, isolated from hydrothermal vents. Here we expand the phylogeny and ecology of this novel phylum with metagenome-derived and single-cell genomes from six uncultivated bacteria previously not recognized as members of Calditrichaeota. Using 16S rRNA gene sequences from these genomes, we then identified 322 16S rRNA gene sequences from cultivation-independent studies that can now be classified as Calditrichaeota for the first time. This dataset was used to re-analyse a collection of 16S rRNA gene amplicon datasets from marine sediments showing that the Calditrichaeota are globally distributed in the seabed at high abundance, making up to 6.7% of the total bacterial community. This wide distribution and high abundance of Calditrichaeota in cold marine sediment has gone unrecognized until now. All Calditrichaeota genomes show indications of a chemoorganoheterotrophic metabolism with the potential to degrade detrital proteins through the use of extracellular peptidases. Most of the genomes contain genes encoding proteins that confer O2 tolerance, consistent with the relatively high abundance of Calditrichaeota in surficial bioturbated part of the seabed and, together with the genes encoding extracellular peptidases, suggestive of a general ecophysiological niche for this newly recognized phylum in marine sediment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Biodiversity
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology*
  • Metagenome
  • Phylogeny
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Seawater / microbiology


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S