Potential of halotolerant and halophilic microorganisms for biotechnology
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Halotolerant or halophilic microorganisms, able to live in saline environments, offer a multitude of actual or potential applications in various fields of biotechnology. The technical applications of bacteriorhodopsin comprise holography, spatial light modulators, optical computing, and optical memories. Compatible solutes are useful as stabilizers of biomolecules and whole cells, salt antagonists, or stress-protective agents. Biopolymers, such as biosurfactants and exopolysaccharides, are of interest for microbially enhanced oil recovery. Other useful biosubstances are enzymes, such as new isomerases and hydrolases, that are active and stable at high salt contents. Halotolerant microorganisms play an essential role in food biotechnology for the production of fermented food and food supplements. The degradation or transformation of a range of organic pollutants and the production of alternative energy are other fields of applications of these groups of extremophiles.
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