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An investigation into the microbial ecology of alpine paleosols

Soil is the most complex microbiome on the Earth. Specifically, very little is known about the microbial ecology and functional diversity of alpine paleosols. This work focuses on the microbial ecology of pristine paleosol sediments from the Western Alps, at a location called the "Col de la Traversette". We found that: 1) Microbial ecology studies on the alpine paleosols with 16S rRNA pyrosequencing analysis revealed several relationships. There was a strong inverse correlation between the Acidobacteria and the Verrucomicrobia populations from diverse samples. There was also a positive correlation between Verrucomicrobia populations and pH. 2) Looking at functional genes in the sediments, the diversity of the ring hydroxylating dioxygenases (RHO) in the pristine paleosols showed the occurrence of unique enzymes that appear to have structural characteristics that are consistent with a role in the oxidation of phenolic substrates. 3) A comparative analysis of the RHO genes from pristine paleosols with a well-studied TOO-OF1 from Pseudomonas putida revealed a novel conserved residue Gly-264. 4) Furthermore, an ancient archaeological query about Hannibal crossing the Alps in 218BC to invade Roman Italy was addressed by finding microbiological evidence from this metagenomic study.
Date January 2015
CreatorsPentlavalli, Prasanna
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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