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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jun;72(6):3832-45.

Microbial diversity in water and sediment of Lake Chaka, an athalassohaline lake in northwestern China.

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  • 1Department of Geology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.

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  • Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Nov;72(11):7430.


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 10(8) cells/g at the water-sediment interface to 10(7) 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.

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