Egypt's Red Sea coast: Phylogenetic analysis of cultured microbial consortia in industrialized sites

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Biology Department

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Research Article

Publication Title

Frontiers in Microbiology

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© 2014 Mustafa, Abd-Elgawad, Abdel-Haleem and Siam. The Red Sea possesses a unique geography, and its shores are rich in mangrove, macro-algal and coral reef ecosystems. Various sources of pollution affect Red Sea biota, including microbial life. We assessed the effects of industrialization on microbes along the Egyptian Red Sea coast at eight coastal sites and two lakes. The bacterial communities of sediment samples were analyzed using bacterial 16S rDNA pyrosequencing of V6-V4 hypervariable regions. The taxonomic assignment of 131,402 significant reads to major bacterial taxa revealed five main bacterial phyla dominating the sampled sites: Proteobacteria (68%), Firmicutes (13%), Fusobacteria (12%), Bacteriodetes (6%), and Spirochetes (0.03%). Further analysis revealed distinct bacterial consortia that primarily included (1) marine Vibrio spp.-suggesting a "marine Vibrio phenomenon"; (2) potential human pathogens; and (3) oil-degrading bacteria. We discuss two divergent microbial consortia that were sampled from Solar Lake West near Taba/Eilat and Saline Lake in Ras Muhammad; these consortia contained the highest abundance of human pathogens and no pathogens, respectively. Our results draw attention to the effects of industrialization on the Red Sea and suggest the need for further analysis to overcome the hazardous effects observed at the impacted sites.

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