Characterization of the endoevaporitic microbial communities in a hypersaline gypsum crust by fatty acid analysis
|BIOSYNTHESIS; BLUE-GREEN-ALGAE; cyanobacteria; CYANOBACTERIUM OSCILLATORIA-LIMNETICA; DESULFOVIBRIO-DESULFURICANS; ECTOTHIORHODOSPIRA; gypsum; halophilic; HYDROXY-ACIDS; hypersaline; Marine & Freshwater Biology; MAT; METHYL-ESTERS; purple bacteria; SALTERNS; sulfate reduction; SULFATE-REDUCING BACTERIA
We have used fatty acid analyses to study the community structure of a layered endoevaporitic microbial community within a gypsum crust that covers the bottom of a saltern evaporation pond in Eilat, Israel. This community, living at a salinity of 218-238 gl(-1) total dissolved salts, consists of an upper brown layer dominated by unicellular cyanobacteria, a green layer with filamentous cyanobacteria, a red-purple layer with both Chromatium and Ectothiorhodospira/Halorhodospira type of purple sulfur bacteria, and a black layer in which dissimilatory sulfate reduction occurs. An olive-green layer is sometimes present below the red-purple layer. Analysis by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry of the fatty acid methyl esters prepared from the different fractions showed characteristic patterns in each layer, and these could be related to fatty acid composition data from the literature and to fatty acid analyses of representative halophilic microorganisms isolated from the site. The nature of the fatty acids in the green layer suggests that the cyanobacteria present there use the oxygen-independent pathway for production of unsaturated fatty acids, a pathway only occasionally encountered in filamentous cyanobacteria. The facultative anaerobic nature of the cyanobacteria in the green layer was confirmed by their ability to perform anoxygenic photosynthesis with sulfide as electron donor. Specific signature fatty acids identified for each layer corresponded well with the microscopic and functional analysis of the biota present.
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checked on Feb 22, 2024