Reference Work Entry

The Prokaryotes

pp 113-164

The Order Halobacteriales

  • Aharon Oren

Introduction

Halophilic Archaea of the order Halobacteriales are found in hypersaline environments in which salt concentrations exceed 150–200 g/liter. They inhabit salt lakes such as the Great Salt Lake, Utah, the Dead Sea, and other hypersaline water bodies such as the crystallizer ponds of solar salterns in which sea water is evaporated for the production of salt. Additional habitats in which these halophilic Archaea often develop include salted fish and hides preserved by treatment with salt. They also occur in certain fermented food products in which molar concentrations of NaCl are added as part of the manufacturing process, such as Thai fish sauce.

Microbial deterioration of salted hides and salted fish by members of the Halobacteriales is clearly visible by the pink-red color of the developing colonies (Clayton and Gibbs, 1927; Harrison and Kennedy, 1922; Lochhead, 1934; Shewan, 1971; Vreeland et al., 1998a). Many of the early studies on the red halophilic Archaea wer ...

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