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  Insights into microbial involvement in desert varnish formation retrieved from metagenomic analysis

Lang-Yona, N., Maier, S., Macholdt, D., Müller-Germann, I., Yordanova, P., Rodriguez-Caballero, E., et al. (2018). Insights into microbial involvement in desert varnish formation retrieved from metagenomic analysis. Environmental Microbiology Reports, 10(3), 264-271. doi:10.1111/1758-2229.12634.

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 Creators:
Lang-Yona, Naama1, Author              
Maier, Stephanie1, Author              
Macholdt, Dorothea2, Author              
Müller-Germann, Isabell1, Author              
Yordanova, Petya1, Author              
Rodriguez-Caballero, Emilio1, Author              
Jochum, Klaus P.2, Author              
Al-Amri, Abdullah3, Author
Andreae, Meinrat O.4, Author              
Fröhlich-Nowoisky, Janine4, Author              
Weber, Bettina1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society, ou_1826290              
2Climate Geochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society, ou_2237635              
3external, ou_persistent22              
4Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society, ou_1826286              

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 Abstract: Desert varnishes are dark rock coatings observed in arid environments and might resemble Mn‐rich coatings found on Martian rocks. Their formation mechanism is not fully understood and the possible microbial involvement is under debate. In this study, we applied DNA metagenomic Shotgun sequencing of varnish and surrounding soil to evaluate the composition of the microbial community and its potential metabolic function. We found that the α diversity was lower in varnish compared to soil samples (p value < 0.05), suggesting distinct populations with significantly higher abundance of Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and Cyanobacteria within the varnish. Additionally, we observed increased levels of transition metal metabolic processes in varnish compared to soil samples. Nevertheless, potentially relevant enzymes for varnish formation were detected at low to insignificant levels in both niches, indicating no current direct microbial involvement in Mn oxidation. This finding is supported by quantitative genomic analysis, elemental analysis, fluorescence imaging and scanning transmission X‐ray microscopy. We thus conclude that the distinct microbial communities detected in desert varnish originate from settled Aeolian microbes, which colonized this nutrient‐enriched niche, and discuss possible indirect contributions of microorganisms to the formation of desert varnish.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: ISI: 000433572100005
DOI: 10.1111/1758-2229.12634
 Degree: -

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Title: Environmental Microbiology Reports
  Abbreviation : Environ Microbiol Rep
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Wiley-Blackwell
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 10 (3) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 264 - 271 Identifier: ISSN: 1758-2229
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1758-2229