Community structure of Archaea and Bacteria in a profundal lake sediment Lake Kinneret (Israel)

Julia I K Schwarz, Werner Eckert, Ralf Conrad
Systematic and Applied Microbiology 2007, 30 (3): 239-54
The microbial community structure of an anoxic profundal lake sediment, i.e., subtropical Lake Kinneret, was analysed with respect to its composition by culture-independent molecular methods including terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis, comparative sequence analysis, and quantitative real-time PCR. In particular we were interested in the structure, species composition, and relative abundance of the overall microbial community in the methanogenic sediment layer (0-10 cm depth). Pairwise comparison of archaeal and bacterial 16S rRNA gene T-RFLP profiles obtained from three independent samplings indicated stability of the microbial community. The numbers of Archaea and Bacteria, quantified by real-time PCR, amounted to about 10(8) and 10(10) 16S rRNA gene copies cm(-3) sediment, respectively, suggesting that Archaea may account for only a minor fraction (approximately 1%) of the total prokaryotic community. Hydrogenotrophic Methanomicrobiales and acetoclastic Methanosaeta spp. dominated T-RFLP profiles of the archaeal community. T-RFLP profiles of the bacterial community were dominated by Deltaproteobacteria, sulphate reducers and syntrophs in particular. The second most abundant group was assigned to the Bacteroidetes-Chlorobi-group. Only one bacterial group, which was affiliated with halorespiring bacteria of subphylum II of the Chloroflexi, showed variation in abundance within the sediment samples investigated. Our study gives a comprehensive insight into the structure of the bacterial and archaeal community of a profundal lake sediment, indicating that sulphate reducers, syntrophs, bacteroidetes, halorespirers and methanogens are of particular importance in Lake Kinneret sediment.

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