Heliorestis daurensis, gen. nov. sp. nov., an alkaliphilic rod-to-coiled-shaped phototrophic heliobacterium from a Siberian soda lake
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A novel alkaliphilic heliobacterium was isolated from microbial mats of a low-salt alkaline Siberian soda lake. Cells of the new organism were tightly coiled when grown in coculture with a rod-shaped bacterium, but grew as short filaments when finally obtained in pure culture. The new phototroph, designated strain BT-H1, produced bacteriochlorophyll g and a neurosporene-like pigment, and lacked internal photosynthetic membranes. Similar to other heliobacteria, strain BT-H1 grew photoheterotrophically on a limited range of organic compounds including acetate and pyruvate. Sulfide was oxidized to elemental sulfur and polysulfides under photoheterotrophic conditions; however, photoautotrophic growth was not observed. Cultures of strain BT-H1 were alkaliphilic, growing optimally at pH 9, and unlike other heliobacteria, they grew optimally at a temperature of 25 °C rather than at 40 °C or above. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of the new organism showed that it groups within the heliobacterial clade. However, its branching order was phylogenetically basal to all previously investigated species of heliobacteria. The G+C content of the DNA of strain BT-H1 (44.9 mol%) was also quite distinct from that of other heliobacteria. This unique assemblage of properties implicates strain BT-H1 as a new genus and species of the heliobacteria, Heliorestis daurensis, named for its unusual morphology (“restis” is Latin for “rope”) and for the Daur Steppe in Russia in which these soda lakes are located.
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