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Electronic Journal of Biotechnology
Vol. 31 , 20
18, Pages: 48-56

Microbial mat ecosystems: Structure types, functional diversity, and biotechnological application

Cristina M.Prieto-Barajas, Eduardo Valencia-Cantero, Gustavo Santoyo

Laboratorio de Diversidad Genómica, Instituto de Investigaciones Químico-Biológicas, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Edificio A1, Ciudad Universitaria, C.P. 58063, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico.


Microbial mats are horizontally stratified microbial communities, exhibiting a structure defined by physiochemical gradients, which models microbial diversity, physiological activities, and their dynamics as a whole system. These ecosystems are commonly associated with aquatic habitats, including hot springs, hypersaline ponds, and intertidal coastal zones and oligotrophic environments, all of them harbour phototrophic mats and other environments such as acidic hot springs or acid mine drainage harbour non-photosynthetic mats. This review analyses the complex structure, diversity, and interactions between the microorganisms that form the framework of different types of microbial mats located around the globe. Furthermore, the many tools that allow studying microbial mats in depth and their potential biotechnological applications are discussed.

Keywords: Acid microbial mats, Biofilm, Coastal mats, Extreme environments, Hot springs, Hypersaline mats, Microbial biotechnology, Microbial diversity, Microbial mats in oligotrophic environments, Microbial mats, Psychrophile microbial mats.

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