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Meteorit Planet Sci. 1998 Jul;33(4):813-9.

Survival strategies for microorganisms in hypersaline environments and their relevance to life on early Mars.

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Department of Biology, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 22030, USA.


There are two groups of microorganisms that live and grow in hypersaline (>10-15% NaCl) environments: the halophilic Archaea and the halotolerant Bacteria and algae. In order to grow and reproduce in such high-salt, low-water activity environments, these organisms have made basic biochemical adaptations in their proteins, osmoregulation mechanisms, nucleic acids, and lipids. The environment of the halophiles and especially how the halophilic Archaea have adapted to that environment are reviewed in this paper. Along with this review is a brief description of how these adaptations could be important in the detection of life on early Mars assuming similar types of salts and a carbon-based life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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