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Microbiologia. 1997 Mar;13(1):45-56.

Structure and composition of freshwater microbial mats from a sulfur spring ("Font Pudosa", NE Spain).

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Institute of Aquatic Ecology, University of Girona, Spain.


Different types of microbial mats developing on the wall on a non-thermal sulfur freshwater spring have been studied. Both, light and electron microscopy as well as HPLC analysis of photosynthetic pigments revealed their structure and composition. Prokaryotic chlorophylls and carotenoids helped in the taxonomical assignment of the main photosynthetic groups. "Inverted position" mats (Mat-I) were dominated by Chromatiaceae; they were located closed to the water outlets (0.3 mM sulfide). "Normal position", that is, cyanobacterial-covered mats (Mat-II and Mat-IV), developed elsewhere on the stone walls at lower sulfide concentrations. A third type of mat (Mat-III), covered by chemolithotrophic bacteria, was distinguishable at the water-air interface, strongly attached to the walls of the spring. Up to six physiological types of microorganisms have been recognized: cyanobacteria, Chromatiaceae, purple nonsulfur bacteria. Chlorobiaceae, Chloroflexaceae, and chemolithotrophic bacteria. Cyanobacteria Lyngbya-like, Oscillatoria-like and Pseudanabaena sp. were found. The diversity of Chromatiaceae (six morpho-/pigment types of the genus Chromatium, plus two non identified Chromatiaceae, named PB1 and PB2 were observed) was noticeable. Chemolithotrophic bacteria were represented by the genera Beggiatoa and Thiothrix. Finally, small numbers of Chloroflexus-like bacteria and Chlorobium limicola were found in all the studied mats.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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