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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Jul;66(7):3052-7.

Extremely halophilic bacteria in crystallizer ponds from solar salterns.

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División de Microbiología, Departamento de Fisiología, Genética y Microbiología, Universidad de Alicante, 03080 Alicante, Spain.


It is generally assumed that hypersaline environments with sodium chloride concentrations close to saturation are dominated by halophilic members of the domain Archaea, while Bacteria are not considered to be relevant in this kind of environment. Here, we report the high abundance and growth of a new group of hitherto-uncultured Bacteria in crystallizer ponds (salinity, from 30 to 37%) from multipond solar salterns. In the present study, these Bacteria constituted from 5 to 25% of the total prokaryotic community and were affiliated with the Cytophaga-Flavobacterium-Bacteroides phylum. Growth was demonstrated in saturated NaCl. A provisional classification of this new bacterial group as "Candidatus Salinibacter gen. nov." is proposed. The perception that Archaea are the only ecologically relevant prokaryotes in hypersaline aquatic environments should be revised.

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