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1.  Saline systems of the Great Plains of western Canada: an overview of the limnogeology and paleolimnology 
Saline Systems  2005;1:10.
In much of the northern Great Plains, saline and hypersaline lacustrine brines are the only surface waters present. As a group, the lakes of this region are unique: there is no other area in the world that can match the concentration and diversity of saline lake environments exhibited in the prairie region of Canada and northern United States. The immense number of individual salt lakes and saline wetlands in this region of North America is staggering. Estimates vary from about one million to greater than 10 million, with densities in some areas being as high as 120 lakes/km2.
Despite over a century of scientific investigation of these salt lakes, we have only in the last twenty years advanced far enough to appreciate the wide spectrum of lake types, water chemistries, and limnological processes that are operating in the modern settings. Hydrochemical data are available for about 800 of the lake brines in the region. Composition, textural, and geochemical information on the modern bottom sediments has been collected for just over 150 of these lakes. Characterization of the biological and ecological features of these lakes is based on even fewer investigations, and the stratigraphic records of only twenty basins have been examined.
The lake waters show a considerable range in ionic composition and concentration. Early investigators, concentrating on the most saline brines, emphasized a strong predominance of Na+ and SO4-2 in the lakes. It is now realized, however, that not only is there a complete spectrum of salinities from less than 1 ppt TDS to nearly 400 ppt, but also virtually every water chemistry type is represented in lakes of the region. With such a vast array of compositions, it is difficult to generalize. Nonetheless, the paucity of Cl-rich lakes makes the northern Great Plains basins somewhat unusual compared with salt lakes in many other areas of the world (e.g., Australia, western United States). Compilations of the lake water chemistries show distinct spatial trends and regional variations controlled by groundwater input, climate, and geomorphology. Short-term temporal variations in the brine composition, which can have significant effects on the composition of the modern sediments, have also been well documented in several individual basins.
From a sedimentological and mineralogical perspective, the wide range of water chemistries exhibited by the lakes leads to an unusually large diversity of modern sediment composition. Over 40 species of endogenic precipitates and authigenic minerals have been identified in the lacustrine sediments. The most common non-detrital components of the modern sediments include: calcium and calcium-magnesium carbonates (magnesian calcite, aragonite, dolomite), and sodium, magnesium, and sodium-magnesium sulfates (mirabilite, thenardite, bloedite, epsomite). Many of the basins whose brines have very high Mg/Ca ratios also have hydromagnesite, magnesite, and nesquehonite. Unlike salt lakes in many other areas of the world, halite, gypsum, and calcite are relatively rare endogenic precipitates in the Great Plains lakes. The detrital fraction of the lacustrine sediments is normally dominated by clay minerals, carbonate minerals, quartz, and feldspars.
Sediment accumulation in these salt lakes is controlled and modified by a wide variety of physical, chemical, and biological processes. Although the details of these modern sedimentary processes can be exceedingly complex and difficult to discuss in isolation, in broad terms, the processes operating in the salt lakes of the Great Plains are ultimately controlled by three basic factors or conditions of the basin: (a) basin morphology; (b) basin hydrology; and (c) water salinity and composition. Combinations of these parameters interact to control nearly all aspects of modern sedimentation in these salt lakes and give rise to four 'end member' types of modern saline lacustrine settings in the Great Plains: (a) clastics-dominated playas; (b) salt-dominated playas; (c) deep water, non-stratified lakes; and (d) deep water, "permanently" stratified lakes.
PMCID: PMC1315329  PMID: 16297237
2.  Microbial Diversity in Water and Sediment of Lake Chaka, an Athalassohaline Lake in Northwestern China 
We employed culture-dependent and -independent techniques to study microbial diversity in Lake Chaka, a unique hypersaline lake (32.5% salinity) in northwest China. It is situated at 3,214 m above sea level in a dry climate. The average water depth is 2 to 3 cm. Halophilic isolates were obtained from the lake water, and halotolerant isolates were obtained from the shallow sediment. The isolates exhibited resistance to UV and gamma radiation. Microbial abundance in the sediments ranged from 108 cells/g at the water-sediment interface to 107 cells/g at a sediment depth of 42 cm. A major change in the bacterial community composition was observed across the interface. In the lake water, clone sequences affiliated with the Bacteroidetes were the most abundant, whereas in the sediments, sequences related to low G+C gram-positive bacteria were predominant. A similar change was also present in the archaeal community. While all archaeal clone sequences in the lake water belonged to the Halobacteriales, the majority of the sequences in the sediments were related to those previously obtained from methanogenic soils and sediments. The observed changes in the microbial community structure across the water-sediment interface were correlated with a decrease in salinity from the lake water (32.5%) to the sediments (approximately 4%). Across the interface, the redox state also changed from oxic to anoxic and may also have contributed to the observed shift in the microbial community.
PMCID: PMC1489620  PMID: 16751487
3.  Endospores of halophilic bacteria of the family Bacillaceae isolated from non-saline Japanese soil may be transported by Kosa event (Asian dust storm) 
Saline Systems  2005;1:8.
Generally, extremophiles have been deemed to survive in the extreme environments to which they had adapted to grow. Recently many extremophiles have been isolated from places where they are not expected to grow. Alkaliphilic microorganisms have been isolated from acidic soil samples with pH 4.0, and thermophiles have been isolated from samples of low temperature. Numerous moderately halophilic microorganisms, defined as those that grow optimally in media containing 0.5–2.5 Molar (3–15%) NaCl, and halotolerant microorganisms that are able to grow in media without added NaCl and in the presence of high NaCl have been isolated from saline environments such as salterns, salt lakes and sea sands. It has tacitly been believed that habitats of halophiles able to grow in media containing more than 20% (3.4 M) are restricted to saline environments, and no reports have been published on the isolation of halophiles from ordinary garden soil samples.
We demonstrated that many halophilic bacteria that are able to grow in the presence of 20% NaCl are inhabiting in non-saline environments such as ordinary garden soils, yards, fields and roadways in an area surrounding Tokyo, Japan. Analyses of partial 16S rRNA gene sequences of 176 isolates suggested that they were halophiles belonging to genera of the family Bacillaceae, Bacillus (11 isolates), Filobacillus (19 isolates), Gracilibacillus (6 isolates), Halobacillus (102 isolates), Lentibacillus (1 isolate), Paraliobacillus (5 isolates) and Virgibacillus (17 isolates). Sequences of 15 isolates showed similarities less than 92%, suggesting that they may represent novel taxa within the family Bacillaceae.
The numbers of total bacteria of inland soil samples were in a range from 1.4 × 107/g to 1.1 × 106/g. One tenth of the total bacteria was occupied by endospore-forming bacteria. Only very few of the endospore-forming bacteria, roughly 1 out of 20,000, are halophilic bacteria. Most of the halophilic bacteria were surviving as endospores in the soil samples, in a range of less than 1 to about 500/g soil. Samples collected from seashore in a city confronting Tokyo Bay gave the total numbers of bacteria and endospores roughly 1000 time smaller than those of inland soil samples. Numbers of halophilic bacteria per gram, however, were almost the same as those of inland soil samples. A possible source of the halophilic endospore originating from Asian dust storms is discussed.
PMCID: PMC1283985  PMID: 16242015
4.  Within- and between-Lake Variability in the Composition of Bacterioplankton Communities: Investigations Using Multiple Spatial Scales 
This study examined the similarity of epilimnetic bacterial community composition (BCC) across several within- and among-lake spatial scales, and the environmental factors giving rise to similar bacterial communities in different lakes were also explored. Samples were collected from 13 northern and southern Wisconsin lakes representing gradients in lake size, productivity, dissolved organic carbon and humic acid contents, and pH. Hypotheses regarding patchy distribution of bacterial communities in lakes were tested by comparing samples collected from nearby (tens of meters) and distant (hundreds of meters) sampling sites in the same lake. BCC was characterized by using a molecular fingerprinting technique, automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA). Overall, samples collected at the 10-m, 100-m, and between-lake scales differed by 13, 17, and 75%, respectively. Variation at these last two scales was significant. The development of within-lake variation in BCC appeared to depend on the isolation of water by lake shoreline features such as bays or narrow constrictions. ARISA profiles from northern lakes had fewer peaks and were less similar to each other than were those of the southern lakes, suggesting that regional features do not necessarily lead to the development of similar bacterial communities. Lakes at similar positions on productivity and dissolved organic carbon concentration gradients had similar bacterial communities, and bacterial diversity was positively correlated with lake productivity and water temperature. Factorial studies taking into account these gradients, as well as regional spatial scales, should provide much insight into the nature of aquatic bacterial biogeography.
PMCID: PMC321240  PMID: 14711644
5.  Patterns of microbial diversity along a salinity gradient in the Guerrero Negro solar saltern, Baja CA Sur, Mexico 
The goal of this study was to use environmental sequencing of 16S rRNA and bop genes to compare the diversity of planktonic bacteria and archaea across ponds with increasing salinity in the Exportadora de Sal (ESSA) evaporative saltern in Guerrero Negro, Baja CA S., Mexico. We hypothesized that diverse communities of heterotrophic bacteria and archaea would be found in the ESSA ponds, but that bacterial diversity would decrease relative to archaea at the highest salinities. Archaeal 16S rRNA diversity was higher in Ponds 11 and 12 (370 and 380 g l−1 total salts, respectively) compared to Pond 9 (180 g l−1 total salts). Both Pond 11 and 12 communities had high representation (47 and 45% of clones, respectively) by Haloquadratum walsbyi-like (99% similarity) lineages. The archaeal community in Pond 9 was dominated (79%) by a single uncultured phylotype with 99% similarity to sequences recovered from the Sfax saltern in Tunisia. This pattern was mirrored in bop gene diversity with greater numbers of highly supported phylotypes including many Haloquadratum-like sequences from the two highest salinity ponds. In Pond 9, most bop sequences, were not closely related to sequences in databases. Bacterial 16S rRNA diversity was higher than archaeal in both Pond 9 and Pond 12 samples, but not Pond 11, where a non-Salinibacter lineage within the Bacteroidetes >98% similar to environmental clones recovered from Lake Tuz in Turkey and a saltern in Chula Vista, CA was most abundant (69% of community). This OTU was also the most abundant in Pond 12, but only represented 14% of clones in the more diverse pond. The most abundant OTU in Pond 9 (33% of community) was 99% similar to an uncultured gammaproteobacterial clone from the Salton Sea. Results suggest that the communities of saltern bacteria and archaea vary even in ponds with similar salinity and further investigation into the ecology of diverse, uncultured halophile communities is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3868825  PMID: 24391633
halophile; gradient; saltern; 16S rRNA gene; bop gene; haloarchaea
6.  Molecular and Phenetic Characterization of the Bacterial Assemblage of Hot Lake, WA, an Environment with High Concentrations of Magnesium Sulfate, and Its Relevance to Mars 
Hot Lake (Oroville, WA) is an athalassohaline epsomite lake that can have precipitating concentrations of MgSO4 salts, mainly epsomite. Little biotic study has been done on epsomite lakes and it was unclear whether microbes isolated from epsomite lakes and their margins would fall within recognized halotolerant genera, common soil genera, or novel phyla. Our initial study cultivated and characterized epsotolerant bacteria from the lake and its margins. Approximately 100 aerobic heterotrophic microbial isolates were obtained by repetitive streak-plating in high-salt media including either 10% NaCl or 2 M MgSO4. The collected isolates were all bacteria, nearly evenly divided between Gram-positive and Gram-negative clades, the most abundant genera being Halomonas, Idiomarina, Marinobacter, Marinococcus, Nesterenkonia, Nocardiopsis, and Planococcus. Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Exiguobacterium, Kocuria, and Staphylococcus also were cultured. This initial study included culture-independent community analysis of direct DNA extracts of lake margin soil using PCR-based clone libraries and 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. Clones assigned Gram-positive bacterial clades (70% of total clones) were dominated by sequences related to uncultured actinobacteria. There were abundant Deltaproteobacteria clones related to bacterial sulfur metabolisms and clones of Legionella and Coxiella. These epsomite lake microbial communities seem to be divided between bacteria primarily associated with hyperhaline environments rich in NaCl and salinotolerant relatives of common soil organisms. Archaea appear to be in low abundance and none were isolated, despite near-saturated salinities. Growth of microbes at very high concentrations of magnesium and other sulfates has relevance to planetary protection and life-detection missions to Mars, where scant liquid water may form as deliquescent brines and appear as eutectic liquids.
PMCID: PMC3989109  PMID: 24748851
7.  Phylogenetic Diversities and Community Structure of Members of the Extremely Halophilic Archaea (Order Halobacteriales) in Multiple Saline Sediment Habitats 
We investigated the phylogenetic diversity and community structure of members of the halophilic Archaea (order Halobacteriales) in five distinct sediment habitats that experience various levels of salinity and salinity fluctuations (sediments from Great Salt Plains and Zodletone Spring in Oklahoma, mangrove tree sediments in Puerto Rico, sediment underneath salt heaps in a salt-processing plant, and sediments from the Great Salt Lake northern arm) using Halobacteriales-specific 16S rRNA gene primers. Extremely diverse Halobacteriales communities were encountered in all habitats, with 27 (Zodletone) to 37 (mangrove) different genera identified per sample, out of the currently described 38 Halobacteriales genera. With the exception of Zodletone Spring, where the prevalent geochemical conditions are extremely inhospitable to Halobacteriales survival, habitats with fluctuating salinity levels were more diverse than permanently saline habitats. Sequences affiliated with the recently described genera Halogranum, Halolamina, Haloplanus, Halosarcina, and Halorientalis, in addition to the genera Halorubrum, Haloferax, and Halobacterium, were among the most abundant and ubiquitous genera, suggesting a wide distribution of these poorly studied genera in saline sediments. The Halobacteriales sediment communities analyzed in this study were more diverse than and completely distinct from communities from typical hypersaline water bodies. Finally, sequences unaffiliated with currently described genera represented a small fraction of the total Halobacteriales communities, ranging between 2.5% (Zodletone) to 7.0% (mangrove and Great Salt Lake). However, these novel sequences were characterized by remarkably high levels of alpha and beta diversities, suggesting the presence of an enormous, yet-untapped supply of novel Halobacteriales genera within the rare biosphere of various saline ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC3294467  PMID: 22179255
8.  Microbial Diversity of the Hypersaline Sidi Ameur and Himalatt Salt Lakes of the Algerian Sahara 
Journal of arid environments  2011;75(10):909-916.
Microbial populations within hypersaline lakes often exhibit high activities of photosynthesis, dissimilatory sulphate reduction and other processes and, thus, can have profound impacts on biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and other important elements within arid lands. To further understand these types of ecosystems, the physicochemical and biological properties of Sidi Ameur and Himalatt Salt Lakes in the Algerian Sahara were examined and compared. Both lakes were relatively neutral in pH (7.2 to 7.4) and high in salt, at 12% and 20 % (w/v) salinity for Himalatt and Sidi Ameur Lakes, respectively, with dominant ions of sodium and chloride. The community compositions of microbes from all three domains (Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya) were surveyed through the use of 16S and 18S ribosomal gene amplification and clone library clustering using amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA) in conjunction with DNA sequencing and analysis. A high level of microbial diversity, particularly among the bacteria of the Himalatt Salt Lake and archaea of Sidi Ameur Lake, was found within these environments. Representatives from all known halophilic bacterial phyla as well as 6 different genera of halophilic archaea were identified. Moreover, several apparently novel phylotypes among both archaea and bacteria were revealed.
PMCID: PMC3167213  PMID: 21909172
molecular biology; microbial diversity; halophiles; haloarchaea; hypersaline
9.  Studies on the Biodiversity of Halophilic Microorganisms Isolated from El-Djerid Salt Lake (Tunisia) under Aerobic Conditions 
Bacterial and archaeal aerobic communities were recovered from sediments from the shallow El-Djerid salt lake in Tunisia, and their salinity gradient distribution was established. Six samples for physicochemical and microbiological analyses were obtained from 6 saline sites in the lake for physico-chemical and microbiological analyses. All samples studied were considered hypersaline with NaCl concentration ranging from 150 to 260 g/L. A specific halophilic microbial community was recovered from each site, and characterization of isolated microorganisms was performed via both phenotypic and phylogenetic approaches. Only one extreme halophilic organism, domain Archaea, was isolated from site 4 only, whereas organisms in the domain Bacteria were recovered from the five remaining sampling sites that contained up to 250 g/L NaCl. Members of the domain Bacteria belonged to genera Salicola, Pontibacillus, Halomonas, Marinococcus, and Halobacillus, whereas the only member of domain Archaea isolated belonged to the genus Halorubrum. The results of this study are discussed in terms of the ecological significance of these microorganisms in the breakdown of organic matter in Lake El-Djerid and their potential for industry applications.
PMCID: PMC2804050  PMID: 20066169
10.  Diversity, Activity, and Abundance of Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria in Saline and Hypersaline Soda Lakes▿  
Soda lakes are naturally occurring highly alkaline and saline environments. Although the sulfur cycle is one of the most active element cycles in these lakes, little is known about the sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB). In this study we investigated the diversity, activity, and abundance of SRB in sediment samples and enrichment cultures from a range of (hyper)saline soda lakes of the Kulunda Steppe in southeastern Siberia in Russia. For this purpose, a polyphasic approach was used, including denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of dsr gene fragments, sulfate reduction rate measurements, serial dilutions, and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Comparative sequence analysis revealed the presence of several novel clusters of SRB, mostly affiliated with members of the order Desulfovibrionales and family Desulfobacteraceae. We detected sulfate reducers and observed substantial sulfate reducing rates (between 12 and 423 μmol/dm3 day−1) for most lakes, even at a salinity of 475 g/liter. Enrichments were obtained at salt saturating conditions (4 M Na+), using H2 or volatile fatty acids as electron donors, and an extremely halophilic SRB, strain ASO3-1, was isolated. Furthermore, a high dsr gene copy number of 108 cells per ml was detected in a hypersaline lake by qPCR. Our results indicate the presence of diverse and active SRB communities in these extreme ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC1855663  PMID: 17308191
11.  Identification of and Spatio-Temporal Differences between Microbial Assemblages from Two Neighboring Sulfurous Lakes: Comparison by Microscopy and Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis 
The microbial assemblages of Lake Cisó and Lake Vilar (Banyoles, northeast Spain) were analyzed in space and time by microscopy and by performing PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and sequence analysis of 16S rRNA gene fragments. Samples obtained from different water depths and at two different times of the year (in the winter during holomixis and in the early spring during a phytoplankton bloom) were analyzed. Although the lakes have the same climatic conditions and the same water source, the limnological parameters were different, as were most of the morphologically distinguishable photosynthetic bacteria enumerated by microscopy. The phylogenetic affiliations of the predominant DGGE bands were inferred by performing a comparative 16S rRNA sequence analysis. Sequences obtained from Lake Cisó samples were related to gram-positive bacteria and to members of the division Proteobacteria. Sequences obtained from Lake Vilar samples were related to members of the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides phylum and to cyanobacteria. Thus, we found that like the previously reported differences between morphologically distinct inhabitants of the two lakes, there were also differences among the community members whose morphologies did not differ conspicuously. The changes in the species composition from winter to spring were also marked. The two lakes both contained sequences belonging to phototrophic green sulfur bacteria, which is consistent with microscopic observations, but these sequences were different from the sequences of cultured strains previously isolated from the lakes. Euryarchaeal sequences (i.e., methanogen- and thermoplasma-related sequences) also were present in both lakes. These euryarchaeal group sequences dominated the archaeal sequences in Lake Cisó but not in Lake Vilar. In Lake Vilar, a new planktonic population related to the crenarchaeota produced the dominant archaeal band. The phylogenetic analysis indicated that new bacterial and archaeal lineages were present and that the microbial diversity of these assemblages was greater than previously known. We evaluated the correspondence between the abundances of several morphotypes and DGGE bands by comparing microscopy and sequencing results. Our data provide evidence that the sequences obtained from the DGGE fingerprints correspond to the microorganisms that are actually present at higher concentrations in the natural system.
PMCID: PMC91855  PMID: 10653710
12.  Effects of Temperature, Salinity and Fish in Structuring the Macroinvertebrate Community in Shallow Lakes: Implications for Effects of Climate Change 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e30877.
Climate warming may lead to changes in the trophic structure and diversity of shallow lakes as a combined effect of increased temperature and salinity and likely increased strength of trophic interactions. We investigated the potential effects of temperature, salinity and fish on the plant-associated macroinvertebrate community by introducing artificial plants in eight comparable shallow brackish lakes located in two climatic regions of contrasting temperature: cold-temperate and Mediterranean. In both regions, lakes covered a salinity gradient from freshwater to oligohaline waters. We undertook day and night-time sampling of macroinvertebrates associated with the artificial plants and fish and free-swimming macroinvertebrate predators within artificial plants and in pelagic areas. Our results showed marked differences in the trophic structure between cold and warm shallow lakes. Plant-associated macroinvertebrates and free-swimming macroinvertebrate predators were more abundant and the communities richer in species in the cold compared to the warm climate, most probably as a result of differences in fish predation pressure. Submerged plants in warm brackish lakes did not seem to counteract the effect of fish predation on macroinvertebrates to the same extent as in temperate freshwater lakes, since small fish were abundant and tended to aggregate within the macrophytes. The richness and abundance of most plant-associated macroinvertebrate taxa decreased with salinity. Despite the lower densities of plant-associated macroinvertebrates in the Mediterranean lakes, periphyton biomass was lower than in cold temperate systems, a fact that was mainly attributed to grazing and disturbance by fish. Our results suggest that, if the current process of warming entails higher chances of shallow lakes becoming warmer and more saline, climatic change may result in a decrease in macroinvertebrate species richness and abundance in shallow lakes.
PMCID: PMC3290630  PMID: 22393354
13.  Communities of gastrointestinal helminths of fish in historically connected habitats: habitat fragmentation effect in a carnivorous catfish Pelteobagrus fulvidraco from seven lakes in flood plain of the Yangtze River, China 
Parasites & Vectors  2009;2:22.
Habitat fragmentation may result in the reduction of diversity of parasite communities by affecting population size and dispersal pattern of species. In the flood plain of the Yangtze River in China, many lakes, which were once connected with the river, have become isolated since the 1950s from the river by the construction of dams and sluices, with many larger lakes subdivided into smaller ones by road embankments. These artificial barriers have inevitably obstructed the migration of fish between the river and lakes and also among lakes. In this study, the gastrointestinal helminth communities were investigated in a carnivorous fish, the yellowhead catfish Pelteobagrus fulvidraco, from two connected and five isolated lakes in the flood plain in order to detect the effect of lake fragmentation on the parasite communities.
A total of 11 species of helminths were recorded in the stomach and intestine of P. fulvidraco from seven lakes, including two lakes connected with the Yangtze River, i.e. Poyang and Dongting lakes, and five isolated lakes, i.e. Honghu, Liangzi, Tangxun, Niushan and Baoan lakes. Mean helminth individuals and diversity of helminth communities in Honghu and Dongting lakes was lower than in the other five lakes. The nematode Procamallanus fulvidraconis was the dominant species of communities in all the seven lakes. No significant difference in the Shannon-Wiener index was detected between connected lakes (0.48) and isolated lakes (0.50). The similarity of helminth communities between Niushan and Baoan lakes was the highest (0.6708), and the lowest was between Tangxun and Dongting lakes (0.1807). The similarity was low between Dongting and the other lakes, and the similarity decreased with the geographic distance among these lakes. The helminth community in one connected lake, Poyang Lake was clustered with isolated lakes, but the community in Dongting Lake was separated in the tree.
The similarity in the helminth communities of this fish in the flood-plain lakes may be attributed to the historical connection of these habitats and to the completion of the life-cycles of this fish as well as the helminth species within the investigated habitats. The diversity and the digenean majority in the helminth communities can be related to the diet of this fish, and to the lacustrine and macrophytic characters of the habitats. The lake isolation from the river had little detectable effect on the helminth communities of the catfish in flood-plain lakes of the Yangtze River. The low similarities in helminth communities between the Dongting Lake and others may just be a reflection of its unique water environment and anthropogenic alterations or fragmentation in this lake.
PMCID: PMC2689855  PMID: 19397804
14.  Culturable diversity of halophilic bacteria in foreshore soils 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2014;45(2):563-571.
Halophilic bacteria are commonly found in natural environments containing significant concentration of NaCl such as inland salt lakes and evaporated sea-shore pools, as well as environments such as curing brines, salted food products and saline soils. Dependence on salt is an important phenotypic characteristic of halophilic bacteria, which can be used in the polyphasic characterization of newly discovered microorganisms. In this study the diversity of halophilic bacteria in foreshore soils of Daecheon, Chungnam, and Saemangeum, Jeonbuk, was investigated. Two types of media, namely NA and R2A supplemented with 3%, 5%, 9%, 15%, 20% and 30% NaCl were used. More than 200 halophilic bacteria were isolated and BOX-PCR fingerprinting analysis was done for the typing of the isolates. The BLAST identification results showed that isolated strains were composed of 4 phyla, Firmicutes (60%), Proteobacteria (31%), Bacteriodetes (5%) and Actinobacteria (4%). Isolates were affiliated with 16 genera and 36 species. Bacillus was the dominant genus in the phylum Firmicutes, comprising 24% of the total isolates. Halomonas (12%) and Shewanella (12%) were also found as the main genera. These findings show that the foreshore soil of Daecheon Beach and Saemangeum Sea of Korea represents an untapped source of bacterial biodiversity.
PMCID: PMC4166284  PMID: 25242943
culturable diversity; halophilic bacteria; foreshore soil
15.  Comparative molecular analysis of chemolithoautotrophic bacterial diversity and community structure from coastal saline soils, Gujarat, India 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:150.
Soils harbour high diversity of obligate as well as facultative chemolithoautotrophic bacteria that contribute significantly to CO2 dynamics in soil. In this study, we used culture dependent and independent methods to assess the community structure and diversity of chemolithoautotrophs in agricultural and coastal barren saline soils (low and high salinity). We studied the composition and distribution of chemolithoautotrophs by means of functional marker gene cbbL encoding large subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase and a phylogenetic marker 16S rRNA gene. The cbbL form IA and IC genes associated with carbon fixation were analyzed to gain insight into metabolic potential of chemolithoautotrophs in three soil types of coastal ecosystems which had a very different salt load and sulphur content.
In cbbL libraries, the cbbL form IA was retrieved only from high saline soil whereas form IC was found in all three soil types. The form IC cbbL was also amplified from bacterial isolates obtained from all soil types. A number of novel monophyletic lineages affiliated with form IA and IC phylogenetic trees were found. These were distantly related to the known cbbL sequences from agroecosystem, volcanic ashes and marine environments. In 16S rRNA clone libraries, the agricultural soil was dominated by chemolithoautotrophs (Betaproteobacteria) whereas photoautotrophic Chloroflexi and sulphide oxidizers dominated saline ecosystems. Environmental specificity was apparently visible at both higher taxonomic levels (phylum) and lower taxonomic levels (genus and species). The differentiation in community structure and diversity in three soil ecosystems was supported by LIBSHUFF (P = 0.001) and UniFrac.
This study may provide fundamentally new insights into the role of chemolithoautotrophic and photoautotrophic bacterial diversity in biochemical carbon cycling in barren saline soils. The bacterial communities varied greatly among the three sites, probably because of differences in salinity, carbon and sulphur contents. The cbbL form IA-containing sulphide-oxidizing chemolithotrophs were found only in high saline soil clone library, thus giving the indication of sulphide availability in this soil ecosystem. This is the first comparative study of the community structure and diversity of chemolithoautotrophic bacteria in coastal agricultural and saline barren soils using functional (cbbL) and phylogenetic (16S rDNA) marker genes.
PMCID: PMC3438102  PMID: 22834535
cbbL; Clone libraries; 16S rRNA gene; RuBisCO; Barren soil
16.  Solar salt lake as natural environmental source for extraction halophilic pigments 
Iranian Journal of Microbiology  2010;2(2):103-109.
Background and Objectives
Halophilic bacteria produce a variety of pigments, which function as immune modulators and have prophylactic action against cancers. In this study, colorful halophilic bacteria were isolated from solar salt lake and their pigments was extracted in optimal environmental conditions and compared with the pigments of Halorubrum sodomense ATCC 33755.
Materials and Methods
Water samples from the solar salt lake in Imam Khomeini port in southwest of Iran were used as a source for isolation of pigment-producing bacteria. Halorubrum sodomense ATCC 33755 was used as control for pigment production. The conditions for optimum growth and pigment production were established for the isolated bacteria. Pigment were analyzed by spectrophotometer, TLC and NMR assay. The 16S rRNA genes were sequenced and results were used to differentiate haloarchaea from halophilic bacterial strains.
Among the isolated strains, YS and OS strains and Halorubrum sodomense were recognized as moderate and extremely halophile with maximum growth in the presence of 15% and 30% NaCl concentrations, respectively. Experiments conducted to find out the optimum conditions for growth and pigment production temperature at 25°C, pH = 7.2 and shaking conditions at 120 rpm for three strains. Without shaking, little growth with no pigment production was observed. Total pigment produced by red, yellow and orange strains was measured at 240, 880 and 560 mg per dry cell weight respectively. Amplification yielded bands of to isolated strains only observed with bacteria primers. This result suggesting the YS and OS strains were not haloarchaea.
The isolated halophilic bacteria produced much higher amounts of pigments than Halorubrum sodomense. Photo intermediates including metarhodopsin II (meta II, λmax=380 nm) were determined as major pigment in Halorubrum sodomense.
PMCID: PMC3279771  PMID: 22347558
Halorubrum sodomense; haloarchaea; salt lake; metarhodopsin II; pigment
17.  Salinity Constraints on Subsurface Archaeal Diversity and Methanogenesis in Sedimentary Rock Rich in Organic Matter▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(13):4171-4179.
The diversity of microorganisms active within sedimentary rocks provides important controls on the geochemistry of many subsurface environments. In particular, biodegradation of organic matter in sedimentary rocks contributes to the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and other elements and strongly impacts the recovery and quality of fossil fuel resources. In this study, archaeal diversity was investigated along a salinity gradient spanning 8 to 3,490 mM Cl− in a subsurface shale rich in CH4 derived from biodegradation of sedimentary hydrocarbons. Shale pore waters collected from wells in the main CH4-producing zone lacked electron acceptors such as O2, NO3−, Fe3+, or SO42−. Acetate was detected only in high-salinity waters, suggesting that acetoclastic methanogenesis is inhibited at Cl− concentrations above ∼1,000 mM. Most-probable-number series revealed differences in methanogen substrate utilization (acetate, trimethylamine, or H2/CO2) associated with chlorinity. The greatest methane production in enrichment cultures was observed for incubations with salinity at or close to the native pore water salinity of the inoculum. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses of archaeal 16S rRNA genes from seven wells indicated that there were links between archaeal communities and pore water salinity. Archaeal clone libraries constructed from sequences from 16S rRNA genes isolated from two wells revealed phylotypes similar to a halophilic methylotrophic Methanohalophilus species and a hydrogenotrophic Methanoplanus species at high salinity and a single phylotype closely related to Methanocorpusculum bavaricum at low salinity. These results show that several distinct communities of methanogens persist in this subsurface, CH4-producing environment and that each community is adapted to particular conditions of salinity and preferential substrate use and each community induces distinct geochemical signatures in shale formation waters.
PMCID: PMC1932797  PMID: 17468287
18.  Survey of Archaeal Diversity Reveals an Abundance of Halophilic Archaea in a Low-Salt, Sulfide- and Sulfur-Rich Spring 
The archaeal community in a sulfide- and sulfur-rich spring with a stream water salinity of 0.7 to 1.0% in southwestern Oklahoma was studied by cloning and sequencing of 16S rRNA genes. Two clone libraries were constructed from sediments obtained at the hydrocarbon-exposed source of the spring and the microbial mats underlying the water flowing from the spring source. Analysis of 113 clones from the source library and 65 clones from the mat library revealed that the majority of clones belonged to the kingdom Euryarchaeota, while Crenarchaeota represented less than 10% of clones. Euryarchaeotal clones belonged to the orders Methanomicrobiales, Methanosarcinales, and Halobacteriales, as well as several previously described lineages with no pure-culture representatives. Those within the Halobacteriales represented 36% of the mat library and 4% of the source library. All cultivated members of this order are obligately aerobic halophiles. The majority of halobacterial clones encountered were not affiliated with any of the currently described genera of the family Halobacteriaceae. Measurement of the salinity at various locations at the spring, as well as along vertical gradients, revealed that soils adjacent to spring mats have a much higher salinity (NaCl concentrations as high as 32%) and a lower moisture content than the spring water, presumably due to evaporation. By use of a high-salt-plus-antibiotic medium, several halobacterial isolates were obtained from the microbial mats. Analysis of 16S rRNA genes indicated that all the isolates were members of the genus Haloferax. All isolates obtained grew at a wide range of salt concentrations, ranging from 6% to saturation, and all were able to reduce elemental sulfur to sulfide. We reason that the unexpected abundance of halophilic Archaea in such a low-salt, highly reduced environment could be explained by their relatively low salt requirement, which could be satisfied in specific locations of the shallow spring via evaporation, and their ability to grow under the prevalent anaerobic conditions in the spring, utilizing zero-valent sulfur compounds as electron acceptors. This study demonstrates that members of the Halobacteriales are not restricted to their typical high-salt habitats, and we propose a role for the Halobacteriales in sulfur reduction in natural ecosystems.
PMCID: PMC383155  PMID: 15066817
19.  Influence of zinc on the calcium carbonate biomineralization of Halomonas halophila 
Aquatic Biosystems  2012;8:31.
The salt tolerance of halophilic bacteria make them promising candidates for technical applications, like isolation of salt tolerant enzymes or remediation of contaminated saline soils and waters. Furthermore, some halophilic bacteria synthesize inorganic solids resulting in organic–inorganic hybrids. This process is known as biomineralization, which is induced and/or controlled by the organism. The adaption of the soft and eco-friendly reaction conditions of this formation process to technical syntheses of inorganic nano materials is desirable. In addition, environmental contaminations can be entrapped in biomineralization products which facilitate the subsequent removal from waste waters. The moderately halophilic bacteria Halomonas halophila mineralize calcium carbonate in the calcite polymorph. The biomineralization process was investigated in the presence of zinc ions as a toxic model contaminant. In particular, the time course of the mineralization process and the influence of zinc on the mineralized inorganic materials have been focused in this study.
H. halophila can adapt to zinc contaminated medium, maintaining the ability for biomineralization of calcium carbonate. Adapted cultures show only a low influence of zinc on the growth rate. In the time course of cultivation, zinc ions accumulated on the bacterial surface while the medium depleted in the zinc contamination. Intracellular zinc concentrations were below the detection limit, suggesting that zinc was mainly bound extracellular. Zinc ions influence the biomineralization process. In the presence of zinc, the polymorphs monohydrocalcite and vaterite were mineralized, instead of calcite which is synthesized in zinc-free medium.
We have demonstrated that the bacterial mineralization process can be influenced by zinc ions resulting in the modification of the synthesized calcium carbonate polymorph. In addition, the shape of the mineralized inorganic material is chancing through the presence of zinc ions. Furthermore, the moderately halophilic bacterium H. halophila can be applied for the decontamination of zinc from aqueous solutions.
PMCID: PMC3520789  PMID: 23198844
20.  Effects of Imposed Salinity Gradients on Dissimilatory Arsenate Reduction, Sulfate Reduction, and Other Microbial Processes in Sediments from Two California Soda Lakes▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2007;73(16):5130-5137.
Salinity effects on microbial community structure and on potential rates of arsenate reduction, arsenite oxidation, sulfate reduction, denitrification, and methanogenesis were examined in sediment slurries from two California soda lakes. We conducted experiments with Mono Lake and Searles Lake sediments over a wide range of salt concentrations (25 to 346 g liter−1). With the exception of sulfate reduction, rates of all processes demonstrated an inverse relationship to total salinity. However, each of these processes persisted at low but detectable rates at salt saturation. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of partial 16S rRNA genes amplified from As(V) reduction slurries revealed that distinct microbial populations grew at low (25 to 50 g liter−1), intermediate (100 to 200 g liter−1), and high (>300 g liter−1) salinity. At intermediate and high salinities, a close relative of a cultivated As-respiring halophile was present. These results suggest that organisms adapted to more dilute conditions can remain viable at high salinity and rapidly repopulate the lake during periods of rising lake level. In contrast to As reduction, sulfate reduction in Mono Lake slurries was undetectable at salt saturation. Furthermore, sulfate reduction was excluded from Searles Lake sediments at any salinity despite the presence of abundant sulfate. Sulfate reduction occurred in Searles Lake sediment slurries only following inoculation with Mono Lake sediment, indicating the absence of sulfate-reducing flora. Experiments with borate-amended Mono Lake slurries suggest that the notably high (0.46 molal) concentration of borate in the Searles Lake brine was responsible for the exclusion of sulfate reducers from that ecosystem.
PMCID: PMC1950999  PMID: 17601810
21.  Low Taxon Richness of Bacterioplankton in High-Altitude Lakes of the Eastern Tibetan Plateau, with a Predominance of Bacteroidetes and Synechococcus spp.▿ † 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(22):7017-7025.
Plankton samples were collected from six remote freshwater and saline lakes located at altitudes of 3,204 to 4,718 m and 1,000 km apart within an area of ca. 1 million km2 on the eastern Tibetan Plateau to comparatively assess how environmental factors influence the diversity of bacterial communities in high-altitude lakes. The composition of the bacterioplankton was investigated by analysis of large clone libraries of 16S rRNA genes. Comparison of bacterioplankton diversities estimated for the six Tibetan lakes with reference data previously published for lakes located at lower altitudes indicated relatively low taxon richness in the Tibetan lakes. The estimated average taxon richness in the four Tibetan freshwater lakes was only one-fifth of the average taxon richness estimated for seven low-altitude reference lakes. This cannot be explained by low coverage of communities in the Tibetan lakes by the established libraries or by differences in habitat size. Furthermore, a comparison of the taxonomic compositions of bacterioplankton across the six Tibetan lakes revealed low overlap between their community compositions. About 70.9% of the operational taxonomic units (99% similarity) were specific to single lakes, and a relatively high percentage (11%) of sequences were <95% similar to publicly deposited sequences of cultured or uncultured bacteria. This beta diversity was explained by differences in salinity between lakes rather than by distance effects. Another characteristic of the investigated lakes was the predominance of Cyanobacteria (Synechococcus) and Bacteroidetes. These features of bacterioplankton diversity may reflect specific adaptation of various lineages to the environmental conditions in these high-altitude lakes.
PMCID: PMC2786500  PMID: 19767472
22.  Interactive effects of chemical and biological controls on food-web composition in saline prairie lakes 
Aquatic Biosystems  2012;8:29.
Salinity is restricting habitatability for many biota in prairie lakes due to limited physiological abilities to cope with increasing osmotic stress. Yet, it remains unclear how salinity effects vary among major taxonomic groups and what role other environmental parameters play in shaping food-web composition. To answer these questions, we sampled fish, zooplankton and littoral macroinvertebrates in 20 prairie lakes (Saskatchewan, Canada) characterized by large gradients in water chemistry and lake morphometry. We showed that salinity thresholds differed among major taxonomic groups, as most fishes were absent above salinities of 2 g L-1, while littoral macroinvertebrates were ubiquitous. Zooplankton occurred over the whole salinity range, but changed taxonomic composition as salinity increased. Subsequently, the complexity of fish community (diversity) was associated with large changes in invertebrate communities. The directional changes in invertebrate communities to smaller taxa indicated that complex fish assemblages resulted in higher predation pressure. Most likely, as the complexity of fish community decreased, controls of invertebrate assemblages shifted from predation to competition and ultimately to productivity in hypersaline lakes. Surprisingly, invertebrate predators did not thrive in the absence of fishes in these systems. Furthermore, the here identified salinity threshold for fishes was too low to be a result of osmotic stress. Hence, winterkill was likely an important factor eliminating fishes in low salinity lakes that had high productivity and shallow water depth. Ultimately, while salinity was crucial, intricate combinations of chemical and biological mechanisms also played a major role in controlling the assemblages of major taxonomic groups in prairie lakes.
PMCID: PMC3547742  PMID: 23186395
Lake food-web; Diversity; Fish; Invertebrates; Salinity; Winter kill
23.  Phylogenetic appraisal of antagonistic, slow growing actinomycetes isolated from hypersaline inland solar salterns at Sambhar salt Lake, India 
Inland solar salterns established in the vicinity of Sambhar Lake are extreme saline environments with high salinity and alkalinity. In view of the fact that microbes inhabiting such extreme saline environments flourish the contemporary bioprospecting, it was aimed to selectively isolate slow growing and rare actinomycetes from the unexplored solar salterns. A total of 14 slow growing actinomycetes were selectively isolated from three composite soil samples of inland solar salterns. Among the isolates, four groups were formed according to similarity of the banding patterns obtained by amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA). A subset of representative isolates for each ARDRA group was identified using 16S rDNA sequence based phylogenetic analysis and subsequently the entire isolates were assigned under three different genera; Streptomyces, Pseudonocardia, and Actinoalloteichus. The genus Streptomyces was found to be the dominant among the isolates. Furthermore, rare actinomycete genus Actinoalloteichus was isolated for the first time from solar saltern. Determination of salt-tolerance revealed that certain level of salt-tolerance and moderate halophilism occurs among the actinomycetes isolated from the inland salterns. In addition, all the acinomycetes were screened in two levels to unravel their ability to produce antimicrobial compounds. Significant antimicrobial activity was found among the actinomycetes against a range of bacteria and fungi to worth further characterization of these persuasive actinomycetes and their antimicrobial secondary metabolites. In a nutshell, this study offered a first interesting insight on occurrence of antagonistic rare actinomycetes and streptomycetes in inland solar salterns associated with Sambhar salt Lake.
PMCID: PMC3707079  PMID: 23847611
solar saltern; rare actinomycetes; ARDRA; phylogeny
24.  Soil Microbial Responses to Increased Moisture and Organic Resources along a Salinity Gradient in a Polar Desert 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2014;80(10):3034-3043.
Microbial communities in extreme environments often have low diversity and specialized physiologies suggesting a limited resistance to change. The McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) are a microbially dominated, extreme ecosystem currently undergoing climate change-induced disturbances, including the melting of massive buried ice, cutting through of permafrost by streams, and warming events. These processes are increasing moisture across the landscape, altering conditions for soil communities by mobilizing nutrients and salts and stimulating autotrophic carbon inputs to soils. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of resource addition (water/organic matter) on the composition and function of microbial communities in the MDV along a natural salinity gradient representing an additional gradient of stress in an already extreme environment. Soil respiration and the activity of carbon-acquiring extracellular enzymes increased significantly (P < 0.05) with the addition of resources at the low- and moderate-salinity sites but not the high-salinity site. The bacterial community composition was altered, with an increase in Proteobacteria and Firmicutes with water and organic matter additions at the low- and moderate-salinity sites and a near dominance of Firmicutes at the high-salinity site. Principal coordinate analyses of all samples using a phylogenetically informed distance matrix (UniFrac) demonstrated discrete clustering among sites (analysis of similarity [ANOSIM], P < 0.05 and R > 0.40) and among most treatments within sites. The results from this experimental work suggest that microbial communities in this environment will undergo rapid change in response to the altered resources resulting from climate change impacts occurring in this region.
PMCID: PMC4018898  PMID: 24610850
25.  Microbiological Survey of Adirondack Lakes with Various pH Values 
Nine high-altitude oligotrophic Adirondack lakes in upstate New York having water of pH 4.3 to 7.0 were surveyed for total bacterial numbers and possible adaptation of the microbial communities to environmental pH. The number of heterotrophic bacteria from water samples recoverable on standard plate count agar were low (101 to 103 per ml) for most of the lakes. Acridine orange direct counts were approximately two orders of magnitude higher than plate counts for each lake. Sediment aerobic heterotrophs recovered on standard plate count agar ranged from 1.4 × 104 to 1.3 × 106 per g of sediment. Direct epifluorescence counts of bacteria in sediment samples ranged from 3.0 × 106 to 1.4 × 107 per g. Low density values were consistent with the oligotrophic nature of all the lakes surveyed. There were no apparent differences in numbers of bacteria originally isolated at pH 5.0 and pH 7.0 between circumneutral lakes (pH > 6.0) and acidic lakes (pH < 5.0). Approximately 1,200 isolates were recultured over a range of pH from 3.0 to 7.0. Regardless of the original isolation pH (pH 5.0 or pH 7.0), less than 10% of the isolates grew at pH < 5.0. Those originally isolated at pH 5.0 also grew at pH 6.0 and 7.0. Those originally isolated at pH 7.0 preferred pH 7.0, with 98% able to grow at pH 6.0 and 44% able to grow at pH 5.0. A chi-square contingency test clearly showed (P < 0.005) that two distinct heterotrophic populations had been originally isolated at pH 5.0 and pH 7.0, although there is undoubtedly some overlap between the two populations.
PMCID: PMC242497  PMID: 16346291

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