Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 121–133

Diversity of culturable actinomycetes in hyper-arid soils of the Atacama Desert, Chile

Authors

  • Chinyere K. Okoro
    • School of BiologyUniversity of Newcastle
  • Roselyn Brown
    • School of BiologyUniversity of Newcastle
  • Amanda L. Jones
    • School of BiologyUniversity of Newcastle
  • Barbara A. Andrews
    • Department of Chemical Engineering and BiotechnologyUniversity of Chile
  • Juan A. Asenjo
    • Department of Chemical Engineering and BiotechnologyUniversity of Chile
  • Michael Goodfellow
    • School of BiologyUniversity of Newcastle
    • Department of BiosciencesUniversity of Kent
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10482-008-9295-2

Cite this article as:
Okoro, C.K., Brown, R., Jones, A.L. et al. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (2009) 95: 121. doi:10.1007/s10482-008-9295-2

Abstract

The Atacama Desert presents one of the most extreme environments on Earth and we report here the first extensive isolations of actinomycetes from soils at various locations within the Desert. The use of selective isolation procedures enabled actinomycetes to be recovered from arid, hyper-arid and even extreme hyper-arid environments in significant numbers and diversity. In some cases actinomycetes were the only culturable bacteria to be isolated under the conditions of this study. Phylogenetic analysis and some phenotypic characterisation revealed that the majority of isolates belonged to members of the genera Amycolatopsis, Lechevalieria and Streptomyces, a high proportion of which represent novel centres of taxonomic variation. The results of this study support the view that arid desert soils constitute a largely unexplored repository of novel bacteria, while the high incidence of non-ribosomal peptide synthase genes in our isolates recommend them as promising material in screening for new bioactive natural products.

Keywords

Culturable actinomycetesAtacama DesertHyper-arid soils

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008