Phylogenetic and morphological diversity of culturable cyanobacteria from Lake Magadi in Kenya
Akhwale, Julia Khayeli
Mwirichia, Romano K.
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Lake Magadi is an alkaline saline Lake in Kenya, which lies on the Great Eastern Rift valley. Although the lake is characterized by extremes of salt, pH and temperature, it supports diverse groups of cyanobacteria. In this study, we used different media to isolate novel groups of cyanobacteria. We recovered 11 isolates affiliated to the orders Chroococcales, Oscillatoriales, Pleurocapsales and Nostocales. Isolates affiliated to Chroococcidiopsis species had similarity values below 90% to currently characterized taxa indicating that these could be completely new phylotypes. This taxon has not been isolated before from the soda lake indicating the power of molecular techniques in identifying novel cyanobacterial taxa. Only two of the recovered isolates had 99% similarity to known organisms. Previous studies have mainly relied on microscopic examination and identification, which can lead to misidentification and subsequent assignment of an organism to the wrong taxon. The recovered isolates are a useful resource of more studies on taxonomy and secondary metabolite production.