Soil bacterial communities of Sahara and Gibson deserts: Physiological and taxonomical characteristics

AIMS Microbiol. 2018 Dec 17;4(4):685-710. doi: 10.3934/microbiol.2018.4.685. eCollection 2018.


The purpose of this research was to investigate the structure of soil bacteria communities present in the Gibson (Australia) and the Sahara (Egypt) deserts, as well as to estimate strain survivability under different environmental factors. It should be noticed that the screening of bacterial resistance to wide spectra of principally different stress conditions was performed for the first time. Experiments were conducted with culturable bacterial communities. Strains were identified using 16S rRNA sequencing, and stress-tolerance was estimated by growing strains in various nutrient media. In order to characterize the community the epifluorescent microscopy and multisubstrate testing were also performed. High bacterial abundance in the desert soils was detected, and there was seen a significant proportion of culturable cells. The close numbers of psychotropic and mesophilic bacteria in arid ecosystems were revealed. The representatives of the Actinobacteria phylum were dominant in the microbial communities, and Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroidetes phyla representatives were also identified. Tolerance of the axenic bacterial cultures, isolated from arid desert ecotopes, to temperature, pH, salts (KCl, NaCl, MgSO4, NaHCO3), strong oxidizers (Mg(ClO4)2), and antibiotics (ampicillin, cephalexin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, doxycycline, kanamycin, rifampicin) was studied. The bacterial isolates were characterized by polyextremotolerance and by the ability to maintain metabolic activity in vitro while influenced by a wide range of physicochemical and biotic factors.

Keywords: antibiotic resistance; culturable bacterial community; desert; extremotolerance; soil; stress-tolerance.