Diversity of sulfate-reducing bacteria from an extreme hypersaline sediment, Great Salt Lake (Utah)


  • Present address: Trine Rolighed Thomsen, Section of Environmental Engineering, Aalborg University, Sohngaardsholmsvej 57, DK-9000 Aalborg, Denmark.

  • Editor: Gary King

Correspondence: Kjeld Ingvorsen, Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Aarhus, Ny Munkegade Building 1540, DK-8000 Aarhus C., Denmark. Tel.: +45 89423245; fax: +45 89422722; e-mail: kjeld.ingvorsen@biology.au.dk


The diversity of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) inhabiting the extreme hypersaline sediment (270 g L−1 NaCl) of the northern arm of Great Salt Lake was studied by integrating cultivation and genotypic identification approaches involving PCR-based retrieval of 16S rRNA and dsrAB genes, the latter encoding major subunits of dissimilatory (bi) sulfite reductase. The majority (85%) of dsrAB sequences retrieved directly from the sediment formed a lineage of high (micro) diversity affiliated with the genus Desulfohalobium, while others represented novel lineages within the families Desulfohalobiaceae and Desulfobacteraceae or among Gram-positive SRB. Using the same sediment, SRB enrichment cultures were established in parallel at 100 and at 190 g L−1 NaCl using different electron donors. After 5–6 transfers, dsrAB and 16S rRNA gene-based profiling of these enrichment cultures recovered a SRB community composition congruent with the cultivation-independent profiling of the sediment. Pure culture representatives of the predominant Desulfohalobium-related lineage and of one of the Desulfobacteraceae-affilated lineages were successfully obtained. The growth performance of these isolates and of the enrichment cultures suggests that the sediment SRB community of the northern arm of Great Salt Lake consists of moderate halophiles, which are salt-stressed at the in situ salinity of 27%.