The Atacama Desert (Chile), one of the most arid places on Earth, shows hostile conditions for the development of epilithic microbial communities. In this study, we report the association of cyanobacteria (Chroococcidiopsis sp.) and bacteria belonging to Actinobacteria and Beta-Gammaproteobacteria and Firmicutes phyla inhabiting the near surface of salt (halite) deposits of the Salar Grande Basin, Atacama Desert (Chile). The halite deposits were investigated by using optical, confocal and field emission scanning electron microscopes, whereas culture-independent molecular techniques, 16S rDNA clone library, alongside RFLP analysis and 16S rRNA gene sequencing were applied to investigate the bacterial diversity. These microbial communities are an example of life that has adapted to extreme environmental conditions caused by dryness, high irradiation, and metal concentrations. Their adaptation is, therefore, important in the investigation of the environmental conditions that might be expected for life outside of Earth.

Microbial colonization of the salt deposits in the driest place of the Atacama Desert (Chile)

STIVALETTA, NUNZIA;BARBIERI, ROBERTO;
2012

Abstract

The Atacama Desert (Chile), one of the most arid places on Earth, shows hostile conditions for the development of epilithic microbial communities. In this study, we report the association of cyanobacteria (Chroococcidiopsis sp.) and bacteria belonging to Actinobacteria and Beta-Gammaproteobacteria and Firmicutes phyla inhabiting the near surface of salt (halite) deposits of the Salar Grande Basin, Atacama Desert (Chile). The halite deposits were investigated by using optical, confocal and field emission scanning electron microscopes, whereas culture-independent molecular techniques, 16S rDNA clone library, alongside RFLP analysis and 16S rRNA gene sequencing were applied to investigate the bacterial diversity. These microbial communities are an example of life that has adapted to extreme environmental conditions caused by dryness, high irradiation, and metal concentrations. Their adaptation is, therefore, important in the investigation of the environmental conditions that might be expected for life outside of Earth.
2012
Stivaletta N.; Barbieri R.; Billi D.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/116669
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