Hypersaline environments encompass aquatic and terrestrial habitats. While only a limited number of studies on the microbial diversity of saline soils have been carried out, hypersaline lakes and marine salterns have been thoroughly investigated, resulting in an aquatic-biased knowledge about life in hypersaline environments. To improve our understanding of the assemblage of microbes thriving in saline soils, we assessed the phylogenetic diversity and metabolic potential of the prokaryotic community of two hypersaline soils (with electrical conductivities of ~24 and 55 dS/m) from the Odiel saltmarshes (Spain) by metagenomics. Comparative analysis of these soil databases with available datasets from salterns ponds allowed further identification of unique and shared traits of microbial communities dwelling in these habitats. Saline soils harbored a more diverse prokaryotic community and, in contrast to their aquatic counterparts, contained sequences related to both known halophiles and groups without known halophilic or halotolerant representatives, which reflects the physical heterogeneity of the soil matrix. Our results suggest that Haloquadratum and certain Balneolaeota members may preferentially thrive in aquatic or terrestrial habitats, respectively, while haloarchaea, nanohaloarchaea and Salinibacter may be similarly adapted to both environments. We reconstructed 4 draft genomes related to Bacteroidetes, Balneolaeota and Halobacteria and appraised their metabolism, osmoadaptation strategies and ecology. This study greatly improves the current understanding of saline soils microbiota.
Vera-Gargallo, B., & Ventosa, A. (2018). Metagenomic insights into the phylogenetic and metabolic diversity of the prokaryotic community dwelling in hypersaline soils from the odiel saltmarshes (SW Spain). Genes, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9030152