LENCINA Agustina InÉs
capítulos de libros
Integral Prospection of Andean Microbial Ecosystem Project
FARÍAS, MARÍA EUGENIA; VILLAFAÑE, PATRICIO GUILLERMO; LENCINA, AGUSTINA INÉS
Microbial Ecosystems in Central Andes Extreme Environments
Año: 2020; p. 245 - 260
When microbial ecosystems first started to be reported 10 years ago, nobody reallyhad a notion of the relevance they would have in the Central Andean region.Consequently, the heritage of the microbialites reported in El Peinado, LagunaNegra, Laguna Pozo Bravo, Laguna La Brava, etc. promises to position the Andes asreservoirs of the most relevant modern microbialites on the planet (Table 17.1,Fig. 17.1). Furthermore, the number of different ecosystems is worth paying closeattention to, as it gives rise to questions such as: What favors the development ofthese ecosystems? What are the conditions that influence the precipitation of a carbonaceousor a gypsum system at such a short distance and under similar environmentalconditions, such as at the Atacama salt flat? Why are oncolites distributed so? Untilnow, it has been possible only to survey the systems and to carry out more in-depthstudies in some of them to try to achieve their preservation. Throughout the prospection of the Andean microbial ecosystems (AMEs), some shared characteristics have beenfound from the geological, physical, and chemical points of view [(1) active volcanicincidence: all of the microbial ecosystems that have been found are in some way connectedto areas where active volcanoes are present; (2) underground water input;(3) mixed zones with different salinities: underground low-conductivitywater andsalar thalassic water; (4) two kinds of microbialites found: oncolites (at LagunaNegra, Tres Quebradas, Las Quinoas, etc.) or domes with thrombolites at the bottomand stromatolites at the top surface (at La Brava, Pozo Bravo, Ojos Bravos, and ElPeinado)] and from the biological point of view [(5) predominance of diatoms, themain component in all studied systems; (6) predominance of anaerobic over aerobicphotosynthetic microorganisms; (7) microbial rhodopsin as the main system for producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP); (8) arsenicresistance and bioenergetic mechanisms;and (9) predominance of Carbon fixation pathways other than the Calvincycle]. The biological aspects of these are being studied thoroughly in our lab and arebriefly discussed below.