Microbiology of Lonar Lake and other soda lakes

Chakkiath Paul Antony, Deepak Kumaresan, Sindy Hunger, Harold L. Drake, J Colin Murrell, Yogesh S. Shouche

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Soda lakes are saline and alkaline ecosystems that are believed to have existed throughout the geological record of Earth. They are widely distributed across the globe, but are highly abundant in terrestrial biomes such as deserts and steppes and in geologically interesting regions such as the East African Rift valley. The unusual geochemistry of these lakes supports the growth of an impressive array of microorganisms that are of ecological and economic importance. Haloalkaliphilic Bacteria and Archaea belonging to all major trophic groups have been described from many soda lakes, including lakes with exceptionally high levels of heavy metals. Lonar Lake is a soda lake that is centered at an unusual meteorite impact structure in the Deccan basalts in India and its key physicochemical and microbiological characteristics are highlighted in this article. The occurrence of diverse functional groups of microbes, such as methanogens, methanotrophs, phototrophs, denitrifiers, sulfur oxidizers, sulfate reducers and syntrophs in soda lakes, suggests that these habitats harbor complex microbial food webs that (a) interconnect various biological cycles via redox coupling and (b) impact on the production and consumption of greenhouse gases. Soda lake microorganisms harbor several biotechnologically relevant enzymes and biomolecules (for example, cellulases, amylases, ectoine) and there is the need to augment bioprospecting efforts in soda lake environments with new integrated approaches. Importantly, some saline and alkaline lake ecosystems around the world need to be protected from anthropogenic pressures that threaten their long-term existence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)468-476
Number of pages9
JournalThe ISME Journal
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • alkaliphiles
  • Lonar Lake
  • microbial prospecting
  • soda lakes
  • stable-isotope probing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Microbiology

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