Search for ancient microorganisms in Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal in Russia, the world's oldest and deepest continental lake lies in south central Siberia, near the border to Mongolia. The lake is 1,643 m deep and has an area of about 46,000 km2. It holds one-fifth of all the terrestrial fresh water on Earth. Lake Baikal occupies the deepest portion of the Baikal Rift Zone. It was formed some 30-45 million years ago. The isolated Lake Baikal ecosystem represents a unique niche in nature based on its historical formation. The microbial diversity present in this environment has not yet been fully harvested or examined for products and processes of commercial interest and value. Thus, the collection of water, soil, and sub-bottom sediment samples was decided to characterize the microbial diversity of the isolated strains and to screen the isolates for their biotechnological value.