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Acta Biochim Pol. 2016;63(2):335-41. doi: 10.18388/abp.2015_1171. Epub 2016 Feb 18.

Halophilic microorganisms in deteriorated historic buildings: insights into their characteristics.

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Institute of Fermentation Technology and Microbiology, Lodz University of Technology, Łódź, Poland.


Historic buildings are constantly being exposed to numerous climatic changes such as damp and rainwater. Water migration into and out of the material's pores can lead to salt precipitation and the so-called efflorescence. The structure of the material may be seriously threatened by salt crystallization. A huge pressure is produced when salt hydrates occupy larger spaces, which leads at the end to cracking, detachment and material loss. Halophilic microorganisms have the ability to adapt to high salinity because of the mechanisms of inorganic salt (KCl or NaCl) accumulation in their cells at concentrations isotonic to the environment, or compatible solutes uptake or synthesis. In this study, we focused our attention on the determination of optimal growth conditions of halophilic microorganisms isolated from historical buildings in terms of salinity, pH and temperature ranges, as well as biochemical properties and antagonistic abilities. Halophilic microorganisms studied in this paper could be categorized as a halotolerant group, as they grow in the absence of NaCl, as well as tolerate higher salt concentrations (Staphylococcus succinus, Virgibacillus halodenitrificans). Halophilic microorganisms have been also observed (Halobacillus styriensis, H. hunanensis, H. naozhouensis, H. litoralis, Marinococcus halophilus and yeast Sterigmatomyces halophilus). With respect to their physiological characteristics, cultivation at a temperature of 25-30°C, pH 6-7, NaCl concentration for halotolerant and halophilic microorganisms, 0-10% and 15-30%, respectively, provides the most convenient conditions. Halophiles described in this study displayed lipolytic, glycolytic and proteolytic activities. Staphylococcus succinus and Marinococcus halophilus showed strong antagonistic potential towards bacteria from the Bacillus genus, while Halobacillus litoralis displayed an inhibiting ability against other halophiles.

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