Chemolithotrophic haloalkaliphiles from soda lakes

Dimitry Yu Sorokin*, Johannes Gijs Kuenen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveyScientificpeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


This paper summarizes recent data on the occurrence and properties of lithotrophic prokaryotes found in extremely alkaline, saline (soda) lakes. Among the chemolithotrophs found in these lakes the obligately autotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria were the dominant, most diverse group, best adapted to haloalkaline conditions. The culturable forms are represented by three new genera, Thioalkalimicrobium, Thioalkalivibrio and Thioalkalispira in the Gammaproteobacteria. Among them, the genus Thioalkalivibrio was most metabolically diverse, including denitrifying, thiocyanate-oxidizing and facultatively alkaliphilic species. Culturable methane-oxidizing populations in the soda lakes belong to the type I methanotroph group in the Gammaproteobacteria, mostly in the genus Methylomicrobium. The nitrifying bacteria in hyposaline soda lakes were represented by a new species Nitrobacter alkalicus (Alphaproteobacteria), and by an alkaliphilic subspecies of Nitrosomonas halophila (Betaproteobacteria). Both belonged to the low salt-tolerant alkaliphiles. The facultatively autotrophic haloalkaliphilic isolates able to grow with hydrogen as electron donor were identified as representatives of the α-3 subclass of the Proteobacteria (aerobic) and of the Natronolimnicola - Alkalispirillum group in the gammaproteobacteria (nitrate-reducing). While all chemolithotrophic isolates from soda lakes belong to the alkaliphiles with a pH optimum for growth around 10, only the sulfur-oxidizing group included species able to grow under hypersaline conditions. This indicates that carbon and nitrogen cycles in the hypersaline alkaline lakes might not be closed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005


  • Haloalkaliphilic
  • Hydrogenotrophs
  • Methanotrophic bacteria
  • Nitrifying bacteria
  • Soda lakes
  • Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria


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