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Microbes In The Antarctic Continent Essay

2256 words - 9 pages

Microbes in the Antarctic continent play an important role in the ecosystem function and sustainability. The variation in snow and ice covers in Antarctic continent markedly affects all ecological variables including the composition of microbial assemblages and their function (Quayle et al., 2002). Minor changes in the global climate could significantly affect the ice and snow melt regimen in this continent. Therefore the Antarctic ecosystem is considered to be a good ecological indicator for the global climate change (Walther et al., 2002). Since 1961, an increase in 1ºC temperature from -11ºC to approximately -10 ºC) in Schirmacher Oasis has been recorded ( This may have resulted in an increased melting of snow, glacial and continental ice thereby affecting the lacustrine systems in Schirmacher Oasis. It is possible that Lake Tawani(P), which initially existed as a low-catchment depression, progressively filled with water from glacial ice and snow melts through visible surface channels and eventually become a permanent landlocked freshwater lake with a thriving microbial ecosystem (Figure 1). Although over 100 freshwater lakes in Schirmacher Oasis harbor a rich microbial consortium, only a few lakes have been subjected to the study of the microbial diversity. Our results revealed that analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of the culture-independent community DNA had a better coverage of the diversity of the bacteria in the samples. Overall, the 16S rRNA gene analysis resulted in the identification of 8 different phyla, 20 different genera including two clones from the Candidate OP 10 groups. Interestingly two genera, Sphingomonas and Janthinobacterium were found to be common in both culture-based and the culture-independent approaches. However Duganella, Subtercola, Arthrobacter, Hymenobacter, and Deinococcus were only identified using the culture-dependent methodology (Table 1).
Contrary to the 16S rRNA analysis, rpoB on culture-independent approach resulted into identification of only Phylum Proteobacteria with 8 genera. These results unlike reported by Case et al (2007) where they showed that the rpoB provided comparable phylogenetic resolution to that of the 16S rRNA gene at all taxonomic levels. The lower coverage of the bacterial diversity by the rpoB gene in our study could be due to the inefficient PCR amplification on the single copy of targeted gene on the genome as compared to 9 copies of 16S rRNA gene per genome (Case et al., 2007). Moreover our results further confirm that rpoB as a taxonomic marker gene is particularly useful for distinguishing species and subspecies levels rather than a broad taxonomic classification at the genus or family level (Case et al., 2007; Dahllof et al., 2000). Both 16S rRNA and rpoB genes were able to identify the genera Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, E. coli, Sphingomonas, and Janthinobacterium. Even with the low coverage, rpoB was still able to...

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