Lake Magadi and Little Magadi are saline, alkaline lakes lying in the southern part of Kenyan Rift Valley. Their solutes are supplied by a series of alkaline hot springs with temperatures as high as 86°C. Previous culture-dependent and independent studies have revealed diverse prokaryotic groups adapted to these conditions. However, very few studies have examined the diversity of fungi in these soda lakes. In this study, amplicons of Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region on Total Community DNA using Illumina sequencing were used to explore the fungal community composition within the hot springs. Operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were analyzed using QIIME 1.8.0, taxonomy assigned via BLASTn against SILVA 119 Database and hierarchical clustering was done using R programming software. A total of 334, 394 sequence reads were obtained from which, 151 OTUs were realized at 3% genetic distance. Taxonomic analysis revealed that 80.33% of the OTUs belonged to the Phylum Ascomycota, 11.48% Basidiomycota while the remaining consisted of Chytridiomycota, Glomeromycota and early diverging fungal lineages. The most abundant Ascomycota groups consisted of Aspergillus (18.75%), Stagonospora and Ramularia (6.25% each) in wet sediment at 83.6°C, while Penicillium and Trichocomaceae (14.29% each) were dominant in wet sediment at 45.1°C. The results revealed representatives of thermophilic and alkaliphilic fungi within the hot springs of Lake Magadi and Little Magadi. This suggests their ability to adapt to high alkalinity, temperature and salinity.
Key words: Fungi, hot springs, temperature, DNA, diversity.
ITS, Internal Transcribed Spacer; OTUs, Operational Taxonomic Units; DNA, Deoxyribonucleic Acid; QIIME, Quantitative Insights into Microbial Ecology.
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