Microbial communities and activities in caves
Raji, R.O., Oyewole, O.A., Ibrahim, O.H., Tijani, Y.N. and Gana, M.
Brazilian Journal of Biological Sciences
Abstract. Caves are natural aperture and oligotrophic extreme environment for psychrophilic and psychrotolerant microorganisms. Microorganisms found in caves can be indigenous to the caves or introduced by humans, animals, water flow and wind action. Group of microorganisms found in caves are bacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae and viruses. However, bacteria and fungi are the dominant microorganisms. Cave microorganisms are metabolically diverse and are able to acquire energy independently through photoautotrophic, chemoautotrophic or heterotrophic activities. Different microbial groups also interact in the formation of cave and as part of the biogeochemical cycling of elements. Cave microbiology has allowed the detection of microorganisms with the potentials to produce different biomolecules for industrial, pharmaceutical, environmental and biotechnological purposes. Keywords: Cave; Psychrotrophic microorganisms; Psychrotolerant microorganisms; Biogeochemical cycling.