Bacterial Diversity in the Haloalkaline Lake Elmenteita
Mwirichia, Romano K.
Boga, Hamadi I.
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Lake Elmenteita is one of the alkaline saline lakes within the Kenyan Rift valley. The lake is situated on the floor of the Kenyan Rift Valley at 1,776 m above sea level and has no direct outlet. The microbial diversity of the lake was investigated using a culture-independent approach. Five different sampling points were selected randomly within the lake. Wet sediments and water samples were collected from each sampling point. In addition, dry mud cake was collected from three points where the lake had dried. DNA was extracted from the samples and the 16S rRNA genes amplified using universal primers for Bacteria. Thirteen clone libraries were constructed using the PCR amplified 16S rRNA genes. A total of 1,663 clones were picked. Representative clones were selected using ARDRA technique for sequencing. 655 partial and non-chimeric clone sequences indicated the presence of 37 orders in the Domain Bacteria. Cyanobacteria were the most abundant clones in terms of numbers whereas members of the phylum Firmicutes group were the second in terms of numbers but the most diverse in terms of genera represented. All clones affiliated to the class Betaproteobacteria originated from DNA obtained from the water samples. Analysis using BLAST showed that 93.1% of the sequenced clones had similarity values below 98% to both cultured and as yet uncultured bacteria, resulting in 596 phylotypes. Therefore, it can be concluded that Lake Elmenteita harbours phylogenetically diverse groups of bacteria involved in complex metabolic interactions within the Lake’s ecosystem.