Fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis of the prokaryotic community inhabiting crystallizer ponds


Josefa Antón, E-mail anton@ua.es; Tel. (+34) 965903870; Fax (+34) 9650903965.


A fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) protocol suitable for the identification of prokaryotes inhabiting hypersaline environments was developed and applied to several crystallizer ponds with salinities above 36% from a multipond solar saltern in Alicante, Spain. Two morphotypes were abundant in these environments: rods and square or square-like prokaryotes that could be affiliated to Bacteria and Archaea, respectively, by FISH with domain-specific probes. FISH with a newly designed probe proved that the archaeal 16S rDNA sequence most frequently recovered from the crystallizers, SPhT, originated from the dominant square-like prokaryotes. These uncultured prokaryotes have the morphology of Walsby's square bacteria. Additionally, FISH with a probe targeted to the genus Haloarcula, members of which are frequently isolated from this environment, indicated that this genus accounts for less than 0.1% of the total prokaryotic community.