Reference Work Entry

Extremophiles Handbook

pp 27-54

Distribution and Diversity of Soda Lake Alkaliphiles

  • William D. GrantAffiliated withDepartment of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, University of Leicester
  • , Dimitry Yu. SorokinAffiliated withWinogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of SciencesDepartment of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology

Genesis of Soda Lakes

Soda lakes and soda deserts are the most stable naturally occurring alkaline environments on earth, where pH values of 10 and above are common. As the name implies, these environments are characterized by large amounts of soda (sodium carbonate, or complexes of this salt), formed by evaporative concentration (Grant 1992; Jones and Grant 2000). Other salts, especially sodium chloride may also concentrate leading to the formation of alkaline saline lakes. Although soda lakes have a worldwide distribution (Table2.2.1), they are mainly confined to subtropical latitudes in continental interiors or rain-shadow zones.

Following a very early study by of the Wadi Natrun in Egypt (1898), the likely explanations for a general mechanism promoting alkalinity have been reviewed by a number of authors, notably the work by Eugster and colleagues (Eugster and Hardie 1978; Hardie and Eugster 1970) reviewed by Jones et al. (1994). The simplest theory would suppose ...

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