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Diversity of Microbial Mats in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana.

Filippidou, Sevasti; Price, Alex; Spencer-Jones, Charlotte; Scales, Anthony; Macey, Michael C; Franchi, Fulvio; Lebogang, Lesedi; Cavalazzi, Barbara; Schwenzer, Susanne P; Olsson-Francis, Karen

Diversity of Microbial Mats in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana. Thumbnail


Sevasti Filippidou

Alex Price

Anthony Scales

Michael C Macey

Fulvio Franchi

Lesedi Lebogang

Barbara Cavalazzi

Susanne P Schwenzer

Karen Olsson-Francis


The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are the remnants of a mega paleo-lake system in the central Kalahari, Botswana. Today, the Makgadikgadi Basin is an arid to semi-arid area receiving water of meteoric origin during the short, wet season. Large microbial mats, which support primary production, are formed due to desiccation during the dry season. This study aimed to characterise the microbial diversity of the microbial mats and the underlying sediment. The focus was the Ntwetwe Pan, located west of the Makgadikgadi Basin. Metagenomic analyses demonstrated that the mats consisted of a high relative abundance of Cyanobacteriota (synonym Cyanobacteria) (20.50-41.47%), Pseudomonadota (synonym Proteobacteria) (15.71 to 32.18%), and Actinomycetota (synonym Actinobacteria) (8.53-32.56%). In the underlying sediments, Pseudomonadota, Actinomycetota, and Euryarchaeota represented over 70% of the community. Localised fluctuations in water content and pH did not significantly affect the microbial diversity of the sediment or the mats.


Filippidou, S., Price, A., Spencer-Jones, C., Scales, A., Macey, M. C., Franchi, F., …Olsson-Francis, K. (2024). Diversity of Microbial Mats in the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana. Microorganisms, 12(1), 147.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 23, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 11, 2024
Publication Date Jan 1, 2024
Deposit Date Mar 25, 2024
Publicly Available Date Mar 25, 2024
Journal Microorganisms
Electronic ISSN 2076-2607
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 1
Pages 147
Keywords Metagenomics, Microbial Mats, Salt Pans, Makgadikgadi Basin
Public URL
PMID 38257974


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