, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 73–83

Potential of halotolerant and halophilic microorganisms for biotechnology

  • Rosa Margesin
  • Franz Schinner

DOI: 10.1007/s007920100184

Cite this article as:
Margesin, R. & Schinner, F. Extremophiles (2001) 5: 73. doi:10.1007/s007920100184


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.

Halotolerant/halophilic Biotechnology Bacteriorhodopsin Compatible solutes Biopolymers Halofermentation Waste treatment (biodegradation) 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Margesin
    • 1
  • Franz Schinner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Microbiology (NF), University of Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 25, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria

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