Aszalós, J.M., Krett, G., Anda D., Márialigeti, K., Nagy B., Borsodi, A.K. 2016. Diversity of extremophilic bacteria in the sediment of high-altitude lakes located in the mountain desert of Ojos del Salado volcano, Dry‑Andes. Extremophiles, 20, 603-620.
Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano on Earth is surrounded by a special mountain desert with extreme aridity, great daily temperature range, intense solar radiation, and permafrost from 5000 meters above sea level. Several saline lakes and permafrost derived high-altitude lakes can be found in this area, often surrounded by fumaroles and hot springs. The aim of this study was to gain information about the bacterial communities inhabiting the sediment of high-altitude lakes of the Ojos del Salado region located between 3770 and 6500 m. Altogether 11 sediment samples from 4 different altitudes were examined with 16S rRNA gene based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and clone libraries. Members of 17 phyla or candidate divisions were detected with the dominance of Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes. The bacterial community composition was determined mainly by the altitude of the sampling sites; nevertheless, the extreme aridity and the active volcanism had a strong influence on it. Most of the sequences showed the highest relation to bacterial species or uncultured clones from similar extreme environments.
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