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Biological Sciences

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Culture-dependent and -independent techniques were used to study the diversity of chemolithoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in Soap Lake (Washington State), a meromictic, haloalkaline lake containing an unprecedentedly high sulfide concentration in the anoxic monimolimnion. Both approaches revealed the dominance of bacteria belonging to the genus Thioalkalimicrobium, which are common inhabitants of soda lakes. A dense population of Thioalkalimicrobium (up to 107 cells/ml) was found at the chemocline, which is characterized by a steep oxygen-sulfide gradient. Twelve Thioalkalimicrobium strains exhibiting three different phenotypes were isolated in pure culture from various locations in Soap Lake. The isolates fell into two groups according to 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. One of the groups was closely related to T. cyclicum, which was isolated from Mono Lake (California), a transiently meromictic, haloalkaline lake. The second group, consisting of four isolates, was phylogenetically and phenotypically distinct from known Thioalkalimicrobium species and unique to Soap Lake. It represented a new species, for which we suggest the name Thioalkalimicrobium microaerophilum sp. nov.


This article was originally published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


Applied and Environmental Microbiology


Copyright © 2007, American Society for Microbiology.