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Molecular characterization of total and metabolically active bacterial communities of “white colonizations” in the Altamira Cave, Spain

AuthorsPortillo Guisado, María del Carmen ; Sáiz-Jiménez, Cesáreo ; González Grau, Juan Miguel
KeywordsBacterial diversity
Active bacterial community
Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
Altamira Cave
Issue DateFeb-2009
CitationResearch in Microbiology 160(1): 41-47(2009)
AbstractCaves with paleolithic paintings are influenced by bacterial development. Altamira Cave (Spain) contains some of the most famous paintings from the Paleolithic era. An assessment of the composition of bacterial communities that have colonized this cave represents a first step in understanding and potentially controlling their proliferation. In this study, areas showing colonization with uncolored microorganisms, referred to as “white colonizations”, were analyzed. Microorganisms present in these colonizations were studied using DNA analysis, and those showing significant metabolic activity were detected in RNA-based RNA analysis. Bacterial community fingerprints were obtained both from DNA and RNA analyses, indicating differences between the microorganisms present and metabolically active in these white colonizations. Metabolically active microorganisms represented only a fraction of the total bacterial community present in the colonizations. 16S rRNA gene libraries were used to identify the major representative members of the studied communities. Proteobacteria constituted the most frequently found division both among metabolically active microorganisms (from RNA-based analysis) and those present in the community (from DNA analysis). Results suggest the existence of a huge variety of taxa in white colonizations of the Altamira Cave which represent a potential risk for the conservation of the cave and its paintings.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resmic.2008.10.002
Appears in Collections:(IRNAS) Artículos
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