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Prokaryotic diversity in a Tunisian hypersaline lake, Chott El Jerid

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Prokaryotic diversity was investigated in a Tunisian salt lake, Chott El Jerid, by quantitative real-time PCR, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting methods targeting the 16S rRNA gene and culture-dependent methods. Two different samples S1-10 and S2-10 were taken from under the salt crust of Chott El Jerid in the dry season. DGGE analysis revealed that bacterial sequences were related to Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, unclassified bacteria, and Deinococcus-Thermus phyla. Anaerobic fermentative and sulfate-reducing bacteria were also detected in this ecosystem. Within the domain archaea, all sequences were affiliated to Euryarchaeota phylum. Quantitative real-time PCR showed that 16S rRNA gene copy numbers of bacteria was 5 × 106 DNA copies g−1 whereas archaea varied between 5 × 105 and 106 DNA copies g−1 in these samples. Eight anaerobic halophilic fermentative bacterial strains were isolated and affiliated with the species Halanaerobium alcaliphilum, Halanaerobium saccharolyticum, and Sporohalobacter salinus. These data showed an abundant and diverse microbial community detected in the hypersaline thalassohaline environment of Chott El Jerid.

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MBA was supported by the Tunisian Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology fellowship. This work was published with the support of AIRD (JEAI HALOBIOTECH project “Traitement anaérobie des effluents industriels salins et hypersalins par des bioréacteurs membranaires”).

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Correspondence to Fatma Karray.

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Communicated by A. Oren.

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Abdallah, M.B., Karray, F., Mhiri, N. et al. Prokaryotic diversity in a Tunisian hypersaline lake, Chott El Jerid. Extremophiles 20, 125–138 (2016).

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