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Remarkable Diversity of Phototrophic Purple Bacteria in a Permanently Frozen Antarctic Lake

By Elizabeth A. Karr, W. Matthew Sattley, Deborah O. Jung, Michael T. Madigan and Laurie A. Achenbach

Abstract

Although anoxygenic photosynthesis is thought to play an important role in the primary productivity of permanently frozen lakes in the Antarctic dry valleys, the bacterial communities responsible for this metabolism remain uncharacterized. Here we report the composition and activity of phototrophic purple bacteria in Lake Fryxell, Antarctica, as determined by analysis of a photosynthesis-specific gene, pufM. The results revealed an extensive diversity and highly stratified distribution of purple nonsulfur bacteria in Lake Fryxell and showed which phylotypes produced pufM transcripts in situ. Enrichment cultures for purple bacteria yielded two morphotypes, each with a pufM signature identical to signatures detected by environmental screening. The isolates also contained gas vesicles, buoyancy structures previously unknown in purple nonsulfur bacteria, that may be necessary for these organisms to position themselves at specific depths within the nearly freezing water column

Topics: Microbial Ecology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1128/AEM.69.8.4910-4914.2003
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:169089
Provided by: PubMed Central
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