Environmental Microbiology

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Lonar Lake Ecology

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Lonar Lake Ecology

Lonar Lake was created around 50000 years ago, by a meteoritic impact on basalt terrain in western Maharashtra. Lake water has a high alkalinity with pH ~10 and high salinity and the lake sustain a unique ecosystem which is operational under such harsh conditions for last 50000 years. The microbial communities inhabiting this lake have always been of prime interest for scientific community. The previous studies using SIP (stable isotope probing) from our group have shown the active methanogenesis and methylotrophy in the lake sediments and water and the novel methylotrophs were detected. Currently, our focus is to delineate the cultured and uncultured microbial diversity of this only soda lake created in basaltic terrain all over the world. Further, we are also using untargeted metabolomics approach to delineate the various metabolic pathways operational in such harsh conditions. Using shotgun metagenomics and genome reconstruction, we are also studying the various elemental cycles like C,S,P,N in the lake and various microbes and their functional genes involved in such elemental cycles. We have generated good amount of data pertaining to geochemistry of Lonar Lake sediments and water and by integrating these data, we wish to evolve a systems biology view and a geomicrobiological model of this unique ecosystem.