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Prestel, E., Salamitou, S. and DuBow, M.S. 2008. An examination of the bacteriophages and bacteria of the Namib desert. The Journal of Microbiology, 46(4): 364-372


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An examination of the bacteriophages and bacteria of the Namib desert.

Summary / Notes:

Bacteria and their viruses (called bacteriophages, or phages), have been found in virtually every ecological niche on Earth. Arid regions, including their most extreme form called deserts, represent the single largest ecosystem type on the Earth’s terrestrial surface. The Namib desert is believed to be the oldest (80 million years) desert. We report here an initial analysis of bacteriophages isolated from the Namib desert using a combination of electron microscopy and genomic approaches. The virus-like particles observed by electron microscopy revealed 20 seemingly different phage-like morphologies and sizes belonging to the Myoviridae and Siphoviridae families of tailed phages. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed a majority of phage genomes of 55∼65 kb in length, with genomes of approximately 200, 300, and 350 kb also observable. Sample sequencing of cloned phage DNA fragments revealed that approximately 50% appeared to be of bacterial origin. Of the remaining DNA sequences, approximately 50% displayed no significant match to any sequence in the databases. The majority of the 16S rDNA sequences amplified from DNA extracted from the sand displayed considerable (94∼98%) homology to members of the Firmicutes, and in particular to members of the genus Bacillus, though members of the Bacteroidetes, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, and 8-Proteobacteria groups were also observed. Keywords: bacteriophages, desert sand, 16S rDNA, electron microscopy.

Year: 2008

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12275-008-0007-4


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