, Volume 466, Issue 1–3, pp 73–80 | Cite as

Comparative metabolic diversity in two solar salterns

  • Carol D. Litchfield
  • Amy Irby
  • Tamar Kis-Papo
  • Aharon Oren


The purpose of this study was to compare the metabolic diversity of the whole microbial community in an oligotrophic saltern (Eilat, Israel) and in a saltern with a more enriched source water (Newark, California). Between 1993 and 1998 water samples were taken from selected locations within the solar salterns of the Cargill Solar Salt Plant, Newark, California, and the Israel Salt Co. in Eilat, Israel. To examine the whole community metabolic diversity, we used the 96-well BIOLOG GN{ TM} plates which contain 95 different carbon sources and a control well. Plates from samples containing greater than 15% salt were excluded from the final analyses because of a lack of reproducibility when multiple plates were inoculated with the same sample. The data were analyzed by simple matching coefficient and principal component analysis. Both methods gave similar results. Two major clusters were formed. These could be subdivided into 10 sub-clusters with only three samples from the Newark saltern in December 1997 joining at the 95% similarity level. Most of the inlet and lower salinity samples from the Cargill samples comprised one large subcluster. Several carbon sources were used by 85% of the microbial community from the California samples, while 85% of the Eilat samples had no commonly used carbon sources. These results suggest that ponds in different geographic locations may have communities with different microbial populations despite the similarities in salt content and processing for salt production.

salterns BIOLOG metabolic potential halophiles 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol D. Litchfield
    • 1
  • Amy Irby
    • 1
  • Tamar Kis-Papo
    • 2
  • Aharon Oren
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiologyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxU.S.A.
  2. 2.Division of Microbial and Molecular Ecology, The Institute of Life Sciences, and The Moshe Shilo Minerva Center for Marine Biogeochemistry, TheHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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