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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2007 Feb;59(2):513-23.

Characterization of the microbial diversity in a permafrost sample from the Canadian high Arctic using culture-dependent and culture-independent methods.

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1
Department of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Abstract

A combination of culture-dependent and culture-independent methodologies (Bacteria and Archaea 16S rRNA gene clone library analyses) was used to determine the microbial diversity present within a geographically distinct high Arctic permafrost sample. Culturable Bacteria isolates, identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, belonged to the phyla Firmicutes, Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria with spore-forming Firmicutes being the most abundant; the majority of the isolates (19/23) were psychrotolerant, some (11/23) were halotolerant, and three isolates grew at -5 degrees C. A Bacteria 16S rRNA gene library containing 101 clones was composed of 42 phylotypes related to diverse phylogenetic groups including the Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, Cytophaga - Flavobacteria - Bacteroides, Planctomyces and Gemmatimonadetes; the bacterial 16S rRNA gene phylotypes were dominated by Actinobacteria- and Proteobacteria-related sequences. An Archaea 16S rRNA gene clone library containing 56 clones was made up of 11 phylotypes and contained sequences related to both of the major Archaea domains (Euryarchaeota and Crenarchaeota); the majority of sequences in the Archaea library were related to halophilic Archaea. Characterization of the microbial diversity existing within permafrost environments is important as it will lead to a better understanding of how microorganisms function and survive in such extreme cryoenvironments.

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