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Sci Total Environ. 2010 Sep 15;408(20):4556-62. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 Jul 3.

Phylogenetic analysis of atmospheric halotolerant bacterial communities at high altitude in an Asian dust (KOSA) arrival region, Suzu City.

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  • 1College of Science and Engineering, Kanazawa University, Kakuma, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, 920-1192, Japan.


The microbial communities transported by Asian desert dust (KOSA) events have attracted much attention as bioaerosols because the transported microorganisms are thought to influence the downwind ecosystems in Korea and Japan. However, the atmospheric microbial community has not been investigated at high altitude in the KOSA arrival area. In this study, to estimate the viability and diversity of atmospheric halotolerant bacteria, which are expected to resist to various environmental stresses as well as high salinities, bioaerosol samples were collected at 10 and 600 m above the ground within the KOSA arrival area, Suzu City, Japan, during KOSA events. During the sampling period, the particle numbers at 600 m were higher than those at 10 m, suggesting that large particles of aerosol fall from the high altitude of 600 m to the ground surface. The microorganisms in bioaerosol samples grew in media containing up to 15% NaCl concentrations demonstrating the viability of the halotolerant bacteria in bioaerosol samples. The PCR-DGGE analysis using 16S rDNA revealed that the bacterial species in NaCl-amended cultures were similar to the bacteria detected from the genomic DNA directly extracted from the bioaerosol samples. The 16S rDNA sequences of bacterial communities in bioaerosol samples were classified into 4 phylotypes belonging to the Bacilluscereus or Bacillussubtilis group. The bioaerosol samples collected at 600 m included 2 phylotypes belonging to B. subtilis, and one phylotype among all 4 phylotypes was identical between the samples at 10 and 600 m. In the atmosphere at 600 m, the halotolerant bacterial community was expected to remain viable, and the species composition was expected to include a few species of the genus Bacillus. During this investigation period, these atmospheric bacteria may have been vertically transported to the ground surface, where the long-range KOSA particle transport from China is frequently observed.

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