Microbial Ecology

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 494–505 | Cite as

Microbial Diversity in an Arid, Naturally Saline Environment

  • Madlen Bachran
  • Sindy Kluge
  • Margarita Lopez-FernandezEmail author
  • Andrea CherkoukEmail author
Soil Microbiology


The Arava Valley in is a rock desert within the Great African Rift valley. Soil from this area is covered with a salt crust. Here, we report microbial diversity from arid, naturally saline samples collected near Ein Yahav from the Arava Valley by culture-independent as well as culture-dependent analysis. High-throughput sequencing of the hypervariable region V4 of the 16S rRNA gene revealed that the microbial community consists of halophiles from the domain Bacteria as well as Archaea. Bacterial diversity was mainly represented by the genus Salinimicrobium of the order Flavobacteriales within the phylum Bacteroidetes, from the gammaproteobacterial orders Alteromonadales and Oceanospirillales as well as representatives from the order Bacillales of the phylum Firmicutes. Archaeal diversity was dominated by euryarchaeal Halobacteria from the orders Halobacteriales, Haloferacales, and Natrialbales. But more than 40% of the sequences affiliated with Archaea were assigned to unknown or unclassified archaea. Even if taxonomic resolution of the 16S rRNA gene V4 region for Archaea is limited, this study indicates the need of further and more detailed studies of Archaea. By using culture-dependent analysis, bacteria of the order Bacillales as well as archaea from all three halobacterial orders Halobacteriales, Haloferacales, and Natrialbales including potentially novel species from the genera Halorubrum and Haloparvum were isolated.


Arid soil 16S rRNA gene Halophiles Bacteria Archaea 



We thank Osnat Gillor from the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, J. Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University, Sede Boqer Campus, Israel; Ines M Soares, a former colleague from the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, J. Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University, Sede Boqer Campus, Israel; and Sonja Selenska-Pobell, a former colleague of the Institute of Resource Ecology from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf for collecting and providing the samples. Additionally, we admire the support from the Analytics Group of the Institute of Resource Ecology from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf.

Supplementary material

248_2018_1301_MOESM1_ESM.docx (360 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 359 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Resource EcologyHelmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-RossendorfDresdenGermany

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