Oct 22, 2015

A highly diverse, desert-like microbial biocenosis on solar panels in a Mediterranean city

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Pedro Dorado-MoralesManuel Porcar

Abstract

Microorganisms colonize a wide range of natural and artificial environments although there are hardly any data on the microbial ecology of one the most widespread man-made extreme structures: solar panels. Here we show that solar panels in a Mediterranean city (Valencia, Spain) harbor a highly diverse microbial community with more than 500 different species per panel, most of which belong to drought-, heat- and radiation-adapted bacterial genera, and sun-irradiation adapted epiphytic fungi. The taxonomic and functional profiles of this microbial community and the characterization of selected culturable bacteria reveal the existence of a diverse mesophilic microbial community on the panels surface. This biocenosis proved to be more similar to the ones inhabiting deserts than to any human or urban microbial ecosystem. This unique microbial community shows different day/night proteomic profiles; it is dominated by reddish pigment- and sphingolipid-producers, and is adapted to withstand circadian cycles of high temperatures, desiccation and solar radiation.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Microorganism
Environment
Pigment
Coccidioidomycosis
Proteomics
Sphingolipids
Microbial
Structure
Fungi
Laboratory Culture

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