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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2011 Sep;322(2):123-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2011.02341.x. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

Phenotyping in the archaea: optimization of growth parameters and analysis of mutants of Haloferax volcanii.

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Institute for Molecular Biosciences, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt a.M., Germany.


A method to grow the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii in microtiter plates has been optimized and now allows the parallel generation of very reproducible growth curves. The doubling time in a synthetic medium with glucose is around 6 h. The method was used to optimize glucose and casamino acid concentrations, to clarify carbon source usage and to analyze vitamin dependence. The characterization of osmotolerance revealed that after a lag phase of 24 h, H. volcanii is able to grow at salt concentrations as low as 0.7 M NaCl, much lower than the 1.4 M NaCl described as the lowest concentration until now. The application of oxidative stresses showed that H. volcanii exhibits a reaction to paraquat that is delayed by about 10 h. Surprisingly, only one of two amino acid auxotrophic mutants could be fully supplemented by the addition of the respective amino acid. Analysis of eight sRNA gene deletion mutants exemplified that the method can be applied for bona fide phenotyping of mutant collections. This method for the parallel analysis of many cultures contributes towards making H. volcanii an archaeal model species for functional genomic approaches.

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