Don Arthur Cowan

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The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) has facilitated the detection of unculturable microorganisms in virtually any environmental source and has thus been used extensively in the assessment of environmental microbial diversity. This technique relies on the assumption that the gene sequences present in the environment are complementary to the "universal"(More)
The arid soils of the Antarctic Dry Valleys constitute some of the oldest, coldest, driest and most oligotrophic soils on Earth. Early studies suggested that the Dry Valley soils contained, at best, very low levels of viable microbiota. However, recent applications of molecular methods have revealed a dramatically contrasting picture - a very wide diversity(More)
Strain SH-6(T) was isolated from the sediment of Lake Shangmatala, a saline lake in Inner Mongolia (China). Cells were pleomorphic. The organism was neutrophilic and required at least 2.5 M (15 %) NaCl, but not MgCl(2), for growth; optimal growth occurred at 4.3 M (25 %) NaCl. The G+C content of its DNA was 63.1 mol%. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis(More)
A haloalkaliphilic archaeon (strain DS12T) isolated from Lake Zabuye, the Tibetan Plateau, China, was characterized to elucidate its taxonomy. The strain was aerobic, chemo-organotrophic, and grew optimally at 40 degrees C, pH 9.5-10.0 and 3.4 M NaCl. Cells of strain DS12T were non-motile cocci and stained Gram-variable. The major polar lipids of strain(More)
Nitrilase activity was induced in the thermophilic bacterium Bacillus pallidus strain Dac521 by growth on benzonitrile-supplemented minimal medium. The enzyme had a subunit relative molecular mass of 41 kDa but was purified as a complex with a putative GroEL protein (total M r, 600 kDa). The enzyme catalyzed the hydrolysis of aliphatic, aromatic, and(More)
The Miers Valley within the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica supports abundant quartz and marble substrates for hypolithons—microbial colonists on the underside of these translucent rocks. Three physically distinct hypolithic community types have been identified: cyanobacteria dominated (Type I), fungus dominated (Type II) or moss dominated (Type III). The(More)
Three Gram-positive, moderately halophilic, spore-forming rods, designated XH-63T, XH-62 and EJ-15, were isolated from two salt lakes located near Xilin Hot and Ejinor, in Inner Mongolia, China. The strains were strictly aerobic and motile, with spherical, terminal and deforming endospores. They grew at pH 5.0-9.0 (optimal growth at pH 7.5), between 4 and(More)
It is now widely accepted that the application of standard microbiological methods for the recovery of microorganisms from the environment has had limited success in providing access to the true extent of microbial biodiversity. It follows that much of the extant microbial genetic diversity (collectively termed the metagenome) remains unexploited, an issue(More)
Strain EJ-46T, a novel pleomorphic, aerobic, extremely halophilic member of the Archaea was isolated from sediment of the saline Lake Ejinor, in Inner Mongolia, China. This organism was neutrophilic and required at least 15 % (2.5 M) NaCl for growth. MgCl2 was not required. The isolate was able to grow at pH 6.0-9.0. Optimum growth occurred in media(More)
We are profoundly ignorant about the diversity of viruses that infect the domain Archaea. Less than 100 have been identified and described and very few of these have had their genomic sequences determined. Here we report the genomic sequence of a previously undescribed archaeal virus. Haloarchaeal strains with 16S rRNA gene sequences 98% identical to(More)