New! Sign up for our free email newsletter.
Science News
from research organizations

Microbial ecosystem at Laguna La Brava may contain novel microorganisms

Lack of cyanobacteria suggests other microorganisms may be precipitating minerals

Date:
November 15, 2017
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
An investigation of the microbial environment at Laguna La Brava in Chile may suggest that novel microorganisms might be at work in the absence of cyanobacteria, according to a new study.
Share:
FULL STORY

An investigation of the microbial environment at Laguna La Brava in Chile may suggest that novel microorganisms might be at work in the absence of cyanobacteria, according to a study published November 15, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maria Eugenia Farias from Laboratorio de Investigaciones Microbiológicas de Lagunas Andinas, Argentina, and colleagues.

Researchers have recently been interested in the role microorganisms play in geological processes. Microbes' metabolic activities alter their microenvironment and can sometimes induce processes such as mineral precipitation and dissolution.

To learn more about microbes' interaction with their environment, the authors of the present study investigated the microbial environment of Laguna La Brava, Salar de Atacama in Chile. This lake has microbial communities growing in extreme conditions including high salinity, high solar insolation, and high levels of metals such as lithium, arsenic, magnesium, and calcium. They collected bacterial and water samples from several distinct ecosystems near the lake, including a multi-layered sheet of microorganisms known as a microbial mat, a living rock carbonate structure, and a hard compact mass formed from precipitation, and compared them to each other.

The researchers found that Euryarchaeota, Crenarchaeota, Acetothermia, Firmicutes and Planctomycetes were the most abundant bacterial and archael groups. Surprisingly, they found little or no cyanobacteria in any of the ecosystems. Since cyanobacteria are usually an important producer of microbial mats, the authors suggest that there may be other microorganisms that are responsible for precipitating minerals in these ecosystems. Further research at these sites might reveal novel organisms and metabolisms of biotechnological interest.


Story Source:

Materials provided by PLOS. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria Eugenia Farias, Maria Cecilia Rasuk, Kimberley L. Gallagher, Manuel Contreras, Daniel Kurth, Ana Beatriz Fernandez, Daniel Poiré, Fernando Novoa, Pieter T. Visscher. Prokaryotic diversity and biogeochemical characteristics of benthic microbial ecosystems at La Brava, a hypersaline lake at Salar de Atacama, Chile. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (11): e0186867 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186867

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Microbial ecosystem at Laguna La Brava may contain novel microorganisms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171115144120.htm>.
PLOS. (2017, November 15). Microbial ecosystem at Laguna La Brava may contain novel microorganisms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171115144120.htm
PLOS. "Microbial ecosystem at Laguna La Brava may contain novel microorganisms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171115144120.htm (accessed February 26, 2024).

Explore More
from ScienceDaily

RELATED STORIES