Investigadores Españoles y Brasileños Analizaron Diversidad Bacteriana en el Valle de la Muerte del Desierto de Atacama

Phylogenetic Profiling and Diversity of Bacterial Communities in the Death Valley, an Extreme Habitat in the Atacama Desert

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The Atacama Desert, one of the driest deserts in the world, represents a unique extreme environmental ecosystem to explore the bacterial diversity as it is considered to be at the dry limit for life. A 16S rRNA gene (spanning the hyper variable V3 region) library was constructed from an alkaline sample of unvegetated soil at the hyperarid margin in the Atacama Desert. A total of 244 clone sequences were used for MOTHUR analysis, which revealed 20 unique phylotypes or operational taxonomic units (OTUs). V3 region amplicons of the 16S rRNA were suitable for distinguishing the bacterial community to the genus and specie level. We found that all OTUs were affiliated with taxa representative of the Firmicutes phylum. The extremely high abundance of Firmicutes indicated that most bacteria in the soil were spore-forming survivors. In this study we detected a narrower diversity as compared to other ecological studies performed in other areas of the Atacama Desert. The reported genera were Oceanobacillus (representing the 69.5 % of the clones sequenced), Bacillus, Thalassobacillus and Virgibacillus. The present work shows physical and chemical parameters have a prominent impact on the microbial community structure. It constitutes an example of the communities adapted to live in extreme conditions caused by dryness and metal concentrations .

Author information

  • 1Department of Genetics and Evolution (DGE), UFSCar, Via Washington Luis, Km. 235, São Carlos, SP Brazil ; Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Seville, C/Profesor García González, 2, 41012 Seville, Spain.
  • 2Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Seville, C/Profesor García González, 2, 41012 Seville, Spain.
  • 3Department of Genetics and Evolution (DGE), UFSCar, Via Washington Luis, Km. 235, São Carlos, SP Brazil.

Indian J Microbiol. 2015 Dec;55(4):392-9. doi: 10.1007/s12088-015-0539-3. Epub 2015 Jun 23.

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