IWA Publishing

Metagenomic approach to characterize soil microbial diversity of Phumdi at Loktak Lake

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Loktak, one of the largest freshwater lakes of India, is known for floating islands (Phumdi), being made up of a heterogeneous biomass of vegetation and soil. This ecological site represents an exclusive environmental habitat wherein the rhizospheric microbial community of Phumdi plays a key role in biogeochemical cycling of nutrients. A culture-independent whole genome shotgun sequencing based metagenomic approach was employed to unravel the composition of the microbial community and its corresponding functional potential at this environmental habitat. Proteobacteria (51%) was found to be the most dominant bacterial phylum followed by Acidobacteria (10%), Actinobacteria (9%) and Bacteroidetes (7%). Furthermore, Loktak metagenome data were compared with available metagenomes from four other aquatic habitats, varying from pristine to highly polluted eutrophic habitats. The comparative metagenomics approach aided by statistical analysis revealed that Candidatus Solibacter, Bradyrhizobium, Candidatus Koribacter, Pedosphaera, Methylobacterium, Anaeromyxobacter, Sorangium, Opitutus and Acidobacterium genera are selectively dominant at this habitat. Correspondingly, 12 different functional categories were found to be exclusively prevalent at Phumdi compared to other freshwater habitats. These differential features have been attributed to the unique habitat at Phumdi and correlated to the phenomenon of bioremediation at Loktak Lake.

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