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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1748. doi: 10.1038/srep01748.

Autotrophic microbe metagenomes and metabolic pathways differentiate adjacent Red Sea brine pools.

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Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong, China.


In the Red Sea, two neighboring deep-sea brine pools, Atlantis II and Discovery, have been studied extensively, and the results have shown that the temperature and concentrations of metal and methane in Atlantis II have increased over the past decades. Therefore, we investigated changes in the microbial community and metabolic pathways. Here, we compared the metagenomes of the two pools to each other and to those of deep-sea water samples. Archaea were generally absent in the Atlantis II metagenome; Bacteria in the metagenome were typically heterotrophic and depended on aromatic compounds and other extracellular organic carbon compounds as indicated by enrichment of the related metabolic pathways. In contrast, autotrophic Archaea capable of CO2 fixation and methane oxidation were identified in Discovery but not in Atlantis II. Our results suggest that hydrothermal conditions and metal precipitation in the Atlantis II pool have resulted in elimination of the autotrophic community and methanogens.

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