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Bacterial ecology of ancient Saharan salt-enrichment ponds at Teguidda-n-Tessoumt
Little is known about the bacterial ecology of evaporative salt-mining sites (salterns) of which Teguidda-n-Tessoumt at the fringe of the West-African Saharan desert in Niger is a spectacular example with its many-centuries-old and very colorful evaporation ponds. During the different enrichment steps of the salt produced as a widely traded feed supplement for cattle, animal manure is added to the crude brine, which is then desiccated and repeatedly crystallized. This study describes the dominant Bacteria and Archaea communites in the brine from the evaporation ponds and the soil from the mine, which were determined by PCR-DGGE of 16S rDNA. Correspondence analysis of the DGGE-community fingerprints revealed a change in community structure of the brine samples during the sequential evaporation steps which was, however, unaffected by the brine's pH and electric conductivity (EC). The Archaea community was dominated by a phylogenetically diverse group of methanogens, while the Bacteria community was dominated by gamma proteobacteria. Microorganisms contained in the purified salt product have the potential to be broadly disseminated and are fed to livestock across the region. In this manner, the salt mines represent an intriguing example of long-term human activity that has contributed to the continual selection, cultivation, and dissemination of cosmopolitan microorganisms.
CitationIn: Journal of plant nutrition and soil science. Weinheim : VCH Verl.-Ges. 168.2005, H. 4, S. 489-495
CollectionsPublikationen (Fachgebiet Ökologischer Pflanzenbau und Agrarökosystemforschung in den Tropen und Subtropen)
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