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Consortia of cyanobacteria/microalgae and bacteria in desert soils: an underexplored microbiota


Desert ecosystem is generally considered as a lifeless habitat with extreme environmental conditions although it is colonized by extremophilic microorganisms. Cyanobacteria, microalgae, and bacteria in these habitats could tolerate harsh and rapidly fluctuating environmental conditions, intense ultraviolet radiation, and lack of water, leading to cell desiccation. They possess valuable metabolites withstanding extreme environmental conditions and make them good candidates for industrial applications. Moreover, most natural microorganisms in these extreme habitats exist as consortia that provide robustness and extensive metabolic capabilities enabling them to establish important relationships in desert environments. Engineering of such consortia of cyanobacteria, microalgae, and bacteria would be functional in the sustainable development of deserts through improving soil fertility, water preservation, primary production, pollutant removal, and maintaining soil stability. Modern tools and techniques would help in constructing highly functional cyanobacterial/microalgal–bacterial consortia that are greatly useful in the establishment of vegetation in deserts as well as in biotechnological applications.

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IP acknowledges the University of Newcastle for UNRS and UNIPRS scholarships, and SRS acknowledges the University of Newcastle for ECR HDR scholarship.

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Correspondence to Mallavarapu Megharaj.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

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Perera, I., Subashchandrabose, S.R., Venkateswarlu, K. et al. Consortia of cyanobacteria/microalgae and bacteria in desert soils: an underexplored microbiota. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 102, 7351–7363 (2018).

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  • Desert soil crusts
  • Consortia
  • Cyanobacteria/microalgae and bacteria
  • Engineering consortia
  • Ecological significance