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Mikrobiologiia. 2005 May-Jun;74(3):410-9.

[The phototrophic community found in Lake Khilganta (an alkaline saline lake located in the southeastern Transbaikal region)].

[Article in Russian]


The structure of the phototrophic community found in Lake Khilganta (the Agin-Buryat Autonomous Area), a shallow saline soda lake (depth, 35-45 cm; water mineralization, 45 g/l; alkalinity, 30 mg-equiv/l; pH 9.5) has been studied. The bottom of the lake is covered with a 10- to 15-mm microbial mat, whose basis is formed by the filamentous cyanobacterium Microcoleus chthonoplastes. The mat exhibits pronounced layering and contains a significant amount of minerals. Six zones, which have characteristic colors and consistencies and are composed of intermittent layers, have been identified along the vertical profile. Live phototrophic bacteria have been found in the three upper zones. The bulk of the cyanobacteria is concentrated in the upper zone. In the lower zones, the development of purple bacteria has been observed. The diurnal dynamics of the vertical distribution of phototrophic microorganisms, which results from variations in the physicochemical environmental parameters, is described. Ectothiorhodospira sp. are dominant among the anoxyphotobacteria present. Their number, determined according to the inoculation method, is 10(6)-10(7) cells/ml. The purple bacteria of the genera Allochromatium, Thiocapsa, and Rhodovulum are also present. Experiments with isolated pure cultures have shown that the anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria of Lake Khilganta are halotolerant and alkalitolerant or alkaliphilic. In liquid enrichment cultures, at pH 9.5, the ratio of anoxyphotobacteria species is close to that observed in the lake. When the pH is increased to 10.4, it is Ectothiorhodospira, which is the most adapted to life under increased mineralization and alkalinity, that predominantly develops. Photosynthetic activity has been observed in the three upper mat zones and constitutes, on average, 1.5 g C/(m2 h); the share of anoxygenic photosynthesis accounts for 75-95% of the total productivity. The main role in sulfide oxidation belongs to the phototrophic anoxyphotobacteria and cyanobacteria. In terms of the physicochemical conditions and structure of the phototrophic community, Lake Khilganta is similar to shallow saline water bodies of marine origin. The main differences consist in the increased alkalinity and in the consequent prevalence of alkaliphilic and alkalitolerant microorganisms and in the absence of representatives of the neutrophilic group of green sulfur bacteria.

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