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Two distinct Photobacterium populations thrive in ancient Mediterranean sapropels

Süß, Jacqueline, Herrmann, Kerstin, Seidel, Michael, Cypionka, Heribert, Engelen, Bert and Sass, Henrik ORCID: 2008. Two distinct Photobacterium populations thrive in ancient Mediterranean sapropels. Microbial Ecology 55 (3) , pp. 371-383. 10.1007/s00248-007-9282-6

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Eastern Mediterranean sediments are characterized by the periodic occurrence of conspicuous, organic matter-rich sapropel layers. Phylogenetic analysis of a large culture collection isolated from these sediments revealed that about one third of the isolates belonged to the genus Photobacterium. In the present study, 22 of these strains were examined with respect to their phylogenetic and metabolic diversity. The strains belonged to two distinct Photobacterium populations (Mediterranean cluster I and II). Strains of cluster I were isolated almost exclusively from organic-rich sapropel layers and were closely affiliated with P. aplysiae (based on their 16S rRNA gene sequences). They possessed almost identical Enterobacterial Repetitive Intergenic Consensus (ERIC) and substrate utilization patterns, even among strains from different sampling sites or from layers differing up to 100,000 years in age. Strains of cluster II originated from sapropels and from the surface and carbon-lean intermediate layers. They were related to Photobacterium frigidiphilum but differed significantly in their fingerprint patterns and substrate spectra, even when these strains were obtained from the same sampling site and layer. Temperature range for growth (4 to 33 degrees C), salinity tolerance (5 to 100 per thousand), pH requirements (5.5-9.3), and the composition of polar membrane lipids were similar for both clusters. All strains grew by fermentation (glucose, organic acids) and all but five by anaerobic respiration (nitrate, dimethyl sulfoxide, anthraquinone disulfonate, or humic acids). These results indicate that the genus Photobacterium forms subsurface populations well adapted to life in the deep biosphere.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
ISSN: 0095-3628
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 10:34

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