- Microbial diversity and biogeochemical cycling in soda lakes
- Volume | Issue number
- 18 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Soda lakes contain high concentrations of sodium carbonates resulting in a stable elevated pH, which provide a unique habitat to a rich diversity of haloalkaliphilic bacteria and archaea. Both cultivation-dependent and -independent methods have aided the identification of key processes and genes in the microbially mediated carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur biogeochemical cycles in soda lakes. In order to survive in this extreme environment, haloalkaliphiles have developed various bioenergetic and structural adaptations to maintain pH homeostasis and intracellular osmotic pressure. The cultivation of a handful of strains has led to the isolation of a number of extremozymes, which allow the cell to perform enzymatic reactions at these extreme conditions. These enzymes potentially contribute to biotechnological applications. In addition, microbial species active in the sulfur cycle can be used for sulfur remediation purposes. Future research should combine both innovative culture methods and state-of-the-art ‘meta-omic’ techniques to gain a comprehensive understanding of the microbes that flourish in these extreme environments and the processes they mediate. Coupling the biogeochemical C, N, and S cycles and identifying where each process takes place on a spatial and temporal scale could unravel the interspecies relationships and thereby reveal more about the ecosystem dynamics of these enigmatic extreme environments.
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