Bacteriophage diversity in haloalkaline environments
There are limited reports on virus population in haloalkaline environments; therefore the aim of this study was to investigate the genetic diversity and biology of bacteriophage communities in these environments. Bacteria were isolated to be used as phage hosts. One bacterium from Lake Magadi and four bacteria from Lake Shala were successfully isolated from sediment samples. A further two Lake Shala bacterial hosts from the IMBM culture collection were also used to isolate bacteriophages. Bacterial isolates were identified to be most closely related to Bacillius halodurans, Halomonas axialensis, Virgibacillus salarius, Bacillus licheniformis, Halomonas venusta, Bacillus pseudofirmus and Paracoccus aminovorans. Bacteriophages were screened using all bacteria against sediment samples from both Lake Shala and Lake Magadi. One phage was identified from Lake Magadi sediments (MGBH1) and two phages from Lake Shala sediments (SHBH1 and SHPA). TEM analysis showed that these phages belong to three different dsDNA phage families; Siphoviridae (MGBH1), Myoviridae (SHBH1) and Podoviridae (SHPA). All phages showed different genome sizes on agarose gel. Due to the small genome size, phage SHPA was chosen for further investigation. Partial, genome sequence analysis showed homology to both bacterial and phage proteins. A further investigation of phage diversity in this environment is essential using metagenomic approaches to understand these unique communities.