29 June 2012
A haloalkaliphilic sulfate-respiring bacterium, strain SLSR-1, was isolated from a lactate-fed stable enrichment culture originally obtained from the extreme environment of Searles Lake, California. The isolate proved capable of growth via sulfate-reduction over a broad range of salinities (125–330 g/L), although growth was slowest at salt-saturation. Strain SLSR-1 was also capable of growth via dissimilatory arsenate-reduction and displayed an even broader range of salinity tolerance (50–330 g/L) when grown under these conditions. Strain SLSR-1 could also grow via dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonia. Growth experiments in the presence of high borate concentrations indicated a greater sensitivity of sulfate-reduction than arsenate-respiration to this naturally abundant anion in Searles Lake. Strain SLSR-1 contained genes involved in both sulfate-reduction ( dsrAB) and arsenate respiration ( arrA). Amplicons of 16S rRNA gene sequences obtained from DNA extracted from Searles Lake sediment revealed the presence of close relatives of strain SLSR-1 as part of the flora of this ecosystem despite the fact that sulfate-reduction activity could not be detected in situ. We conclude that strain SLSR-1 can only achieve growth via arsenate-reduction under the current chemical conditions prevalent at Searles Lake. Strain SLSR-1 is a deltaproteobacterium in the family Desulfohalobiacea of anaerobic, haloalkaliphilic bacteria, for which we propose the name Desulfohalophilus alkaliarsenatis gen. nov., sp. nov.