In a study of a lake having a higher concentration of salts than the Dead Sea, all of the heterotrophic bacteria isolated were aerobes; no strictly anaerobic strains were found. Ninety percent of the strains were euryhalines and ten percent were strict halophiles. The extreme halophiles belonged to the species Halobacterium trapanicum and Halococcus morrhuae.
Eighteen strains of extremely halophilic bacteria and three strains of moderately halophilic bacteria were isolated from four different solar salt environments. Growth tests on carbohydrates, low-molecular-weight carboxylic acids, and complex medium demonstrated that the moderate halophiles and strains of the extreme halophiles Haloarcula and Halococcus grew on most of the substrates tested. Among the Halobacterium isolates were several metabolic groups: strains that grew on a broad range of substrates and strains that were essentially confined to either amino acid (peptone) or carbohydrate oxidation. One strain (WS-4) only grew well on pyruvate and acetate. Most strains of extreme halophiles grew by anaerobic fermentation and possibly by nitrate reduction. Tests of growth potential in natural saltern brines demonstrated that none of the halobacteria grew well in brines which harbor the densest populations of these bacteria in solar salterns. All grew best in brines which were unsaturated with NaCl. The high concentrations of Na+ and Mg2+ found in saltern crystallizer brines limited bacterial growth, but the concentrations of K+ found in these brines had little effect. MgSO4 was relatively more inhibitory to the extreme halophiles than was MgCl2, but the reverse was true for the moderate halophiles.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are accumulated in many prokaryotes. Several members of the Halobacteriaceae produce poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), but it is not known if this is a general property of the family. We evaluated identification methods for PHAs with 20 haloarchaeal species, three of them isolates from Permian salt. Staining with Sudan Black B, Nile Blue A, or Nile Red was applied to screen for the presence of PHAs. Transmission electron microscopy and 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy were used for visualization of PHB granules and chemical confirmation of PHAs in cell extracts, respectively. We report for the first time the production of PHAs by Halococcus sp. (Halococcus morrhuae DSM 1307T, Halococcus saccharolyticus DSM 5350T, Halococcus salifodinae DSM 8989T, Halococcus dombrowskii DSM 14522T, Halococcus hamelinensis JCM 12892T, Halococcus qingdaonensis JCM 13587T), Halorubrum sp. (Hrr. coriense DSM 10284T, Halorubrum chaoviator DSM 19316T, Hrr. chaoviator strains NaxosII and AUS-1), haloalkaliphiles (Natronobacterium gregoryi NCMB 2189T, Natronococcus occultus DSM 3396T) and Halobacterium noricense DSM 9758T. No PHB was detected in Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1 ATCC 700922, Hbt. salinarum R1 and Haloferax volcanii DSM 3757T. Most species synthesized PHAs when growing in synthetic as well as in complex medium. The polyesters were generally composed of PHB and poly-ß-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate (PHBV). Available genomic data suggest the absence of PHA synthesis in some haloarchaea and in all other Euryarchaeota and Crenarchaeota. Homologies between haloarchaeal and bacterial PHA synthesizing enzymes had indicated to some authors probable horizontal gene transfer, which, considering the data obtained in this study, may have occurred already before Permian times.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00253-010-2611-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Polyhydroxybutyrate; Haloarchaea; Halococcus; Halobacterium; Haloalkaliphile
Archaeosomes prepared from total polar lipids extracted from six
archaeal species with divergent lipid compositions had the capacity to
deliver antigen for presentation via both MHC class I and class II
pathways. Lipid extracts from Halobacterium halobium
and from Halococcus morrhuae strains 14039 and 16008
contained archaetidylglycerol methylphosphate and sulfated glycolipids
rich in mannose residues, and lacked archaetidylserine, whereas the
opposite was found in Methanobrevibacter smithii,
Methanosarcina mazei and Methanococcus
jannaschii. Annexin V labeling revealed a surface orientation
of phosphoserine head groups in M. smithii,
M. mazei and M. jannaschii
archaeosomes. Uptake of rhodamine-labeled M.
smithii or M. jannaschii archaeosomes by
murine peritoneal macrophages was inhibited by unlabeled liposomes
containing phosphatidylserine, by the sulfhydryl inhibitor
N-ethylmaleimide, and by ATP depletion using azide plus fluoride, but
not by H. halobium archaeosomes. In contrast,
N-ethylmaleimide failed to inhibit uptake of the four other
rhodamine-labeled archaeosome types, and azide plus fluoride did not
inhibit uptake of H. halobium or H.
morrhuae archaeosomes. These results suggest endocytosis
ofarchaeosomes rich in surface-exposed phosphoserine
head groups via a phosphatidylserine receptor, and energy-independent
surface adsorption of certain other archaeosome composition classes.
Lipid composition affected not only the endocytic mechanism, but also
served to differentially modulate the activation of dendritic cells.
The induction of IL-12 secretion from dendritic cells exposed to
H. morrhuae 14039 archaeosomes was striking compared
with cells exposed to archaeosomes from 16008. Thus, archaeosome types
uniquely modulate antigen delivery and dendritic cell activation.
antibody; archaea; cytotoxic T lymphocyte; liposomes; phagocytosis; phosphatidylserine
The first report, to our knowledge, on the occurrence of filamentous fungi in the hypersaline (340 g salt l-1) Dead Sea is presented. Three species of filamentous fungi from surface water samples of the Dead Sea were isolated: Gymnascella marismortui (Ascomycota), which is described as a new species, Ulocladium chlamydosporum and Penicillium westlingii (Deuteromycota). G. marismortui and U. chlamydosporum grew on media containing up to 50% Dead Sea water. G. marismortui was found to be an obligate halophile growing optimally in the presence of 0.5-2 M NaCl or 10 30% (by volume) of Dead Sea water. Isolated cultures did not grow on agar media without salt, but grew on agar prepared with up to 50% Dead Sea water. This suggests that they may be adapted to life in the extremely stressful hypersaline Dead Sea.
The isolation of obligate halophilic aspergilli from the Dead Sea and the range of salt tolerance of halophilic fungi isolated, are reported here for the first time. The mycobiota of the Dead Sea isolated in this study, was dominated by Aspergillus and Penicillium species; Cladosporium were found in lesser numbers. All three genera were obtained from the water sample; however, Aspergillus was the only genus obtained from the sediment. There was significant difference in growth of each isolate at different salt concentrations and intraspecies analysis revealed dissimilarity in response of strains to different salt concentrations in the growth medium The isolates were euryhaline, with halotolerance up to 20–25% solar salt, Aspergillus and Penicillium species showing a higher level of halotolerance, as compared to that of Cladosporium. Halophilic fungi were found in greater numbers in the sediment sample as compared to that in the water sample. Penicillium and Cladosporium species were exclusively facultative halophiles, while some species of Aspergillus were facultative halophiles. All the obligate halophiles isolated, belonged to the genus Aspergillus and were identified as A. penicillioides and A unguis, the latter being a first record of the species from the Dead Sea.
Dead Sea; Obligate halophile; Aspergillus; Penicillium; Cladosporium
Most of the haloarchaeal strains have been isolated from hypersaline environments such as solar evaporation ponds, salt lakes, or salt deposits, and they, with some exceptions, lyse or lose viability in very low-salt concentrations. There are no salty environments suitable for the growth of haloarchaea in Japan. Although Natrialba asiatica and Haloarcula japonica were isolated many years ago, the question, "Are haloarchaea really thriving in natural environments of Japan?" has remained unanswered.
Ten strains were isolated from a traditional Japanese-style salt field at Nie, Noto Peninsula, Japan by plating out the soil samples directly on agar plates containing 30% (w/v) salts and 0.5% yeast extract. They were most closely related to strains of three genera, Haladaptatus, Halococcus, and Halogeometricum. Survival rates in 3% and 0.5% SW (Salt Water, solutions containing salts in approximately the same proportions as found in seawater) solutions at 37°C differed considerably depending on the strains. Two strains belonging to Halogeometricum as well as the type strain Hgm. borinquense died and lysed immediately after suspension. Five strains that belonged to Halococcus and a strain that may be a member of Halogeometricum survived for 1–2 days in 0.5% SW solution. Two strains most closely related to Haladaptatus possessed extraordinary strong tolerance to low salt conditions. About 20 to 34% of the cells remained viable in 0.5% SW after 9 days incubation.
In this study we have demonstrated that haloarchaea are really thriving in the soil of Japanese-style salt field. The haloarchaeal cells, particularly the fragile strains are suggested to survive in the micropores of smaller size silt fraction, one of the components of soil. The inside of the silt particles is filled with concentrated salt solution and kept intact even upon suspension in rainwater. Possible origins of the haloarchaea isolated in this study are discussed.
All tested strains of halophilic archaebacteria of the genera Halobacterium, Haloarcula, Haloferax, and Natronobacterium lysed in 1% Bacto-Peptone (Difco) containing 25% NaCl, whereas no lysis was observed with other strains belonging to archaebacteria of the genera Halococcus, Natronococcus, and Sulfolobus, methanogenic bacteria, and moderately halophilic eubacteria. Substances in Bacto-Peptone which caused lysis of halobacteria were purified and identified as taurocholic acid and glycocholic acid. High-performance liquid chromatography analyses of peptones revealed that Bacto-Peptone contained nine different bile acids, with a total content of 9.53 mg/g, whereas much lower amounts were found in Peptone Bacteriological Technical (Difco) and Oxoid Peptone. Different kinds of peptones can be used to distinguish halophilic eubacteria and archaebacteria in mixed cultures from hypersaline environments.
Various effects of microgravity on prokaryotes have been recognized in recent years, with the focus on studies of pathogenic bacteria. No archaea have been investigated yet with respect to their responses to microgravity. For exposure experiments on spacecrafts or on the International Space Station, halophilic archaea (haloarchaea) are usually embedded in halite, where they accumulate in fluid inclusions. In a liquid environment, these cells will experience microgravity in space, which might influence their viability and survival. Two haloarchaeal strains, Haloferax mediterranei and Halococcus dombrowskii, were grown in simulated microgravity (SMG) with the rotary cell culture system (RCCS, Synthecon). Initially, salt precipitation and detachment of the porous aeration membranes in the RCCS were observed, but they were avoided in the remainder of the experiment by using disposable instead of reusable vessels. Several effects were detected, which were ascribed to growth in SMG: Hfx. mediterranei's resistance to the antibiotics bacitracin, erythromycin, and rifampicin increased markedly; differences in pigmentation and whole cell protein composition (proteome) of both strains were noted; cell aggregation of Hcc. dombrowskii was notably reduced. The results suggest profound effects of SMG on haloarchaeal physiology and cellular processes, some of which were easily observable and measurable. This is the first report of archaeal responses to SMG. The molecular mechanisms of the effects induced by SMG on prokaryotes are largely unknown; haloarchaea could be used as nonpathogenic model systems for their elucidation and in addition could provide information about survival during lithopanspermia (interplanetary transport of microbes inside meteorites). Key Words: Haloferax mediterranei—Halococcus dombrowskii—Simulated microgravity—Rotary cell culture system—Antibiotic resistance—Lithopanspermia. Astrobiology 11, 199–205.
The isolation of viable extremely halophilic archaea from 250-million-year-old rock salt suggests the possibility of their long-term survival under desiccation. Since halite has been found on Mars and in meteorites, haloarchaeal survival of martian surface conditions is being explored. Halococcus dombrowskii H4 DSM 14522T was exposed to UV doses over a wavelength range of 200–400 nm to simulate martian UV flux. Cells embedded in a thin layer of laboratory-grown halite were found to accumulate preferentially within fluid inclusions. Survival was assessed by staining with the LIVE/DEAD kit dyes, determining colony-forming units, and using growth tests. Halite-embedded cells showed no loss of viability after exposure to about 21 kJ/m2, and they resumed growth in liquid medium with lag phases of 12 days or more after exposure up to 148 kJ/m2. The estimated D37 (dose of 37 % survival) for Hcc. dombrowskii was ≥ 400 kJ/m2. However, exposure of cells to UV flux while in liquid culture reduced D37 by 2 orders of magnitude (to about 1 kJ/m2); similar results were obtained with Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1 and Haloarcula japonica. The absorption of incoming light of shorter wavelength by color centers resulting from defects in the halite crystal structure likely contributed to these results. Under natural conditions, haloarchaeal cells become embedded in salt upon evaporation; therefore, dispersal of potential microscopic life within small crystals, perhaps in dust, on the surface of Mars could resist damage by UV radiation.
Halococcus dombrowskii; Simulated martian UV radiation; LIVE/DEAD staining; Halite fluid inclusions; UV transmittance and reflectance; Desiccation
The brine-seawater interface of the Kebrit Deep, northern Red Sea, was investigated for the presence of microorganisms using phylogenetic analysis combined with cultivation methods. Under strictly anaerobic culture conditions, novel halophiles were isolated. The new rod-shaped isolates belong to the halophilic genus Halanaerobium and are the first representatives of the genus obtained from deep-sea, anaerobic brine pools. Within the genus Halanaerobium, they represent new species which grow chemoorganotrophically at NaCl concentrations ranging from 5 to 34%. The cellular fatty acid compositions are consistent with those of other Halanaerobium representatives, showing unusually large amounts of Δ7 and Δ11 16:1 fatty acids. Phylogenetic analysis of the brine-seawater interface sample revealed the presence of various bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences dominated by cultivated members of the bacterial domain, with the majority affiliated with the genus Halanaerobium. The new Halanaerobium 16S rRNA clone sequences showed the highest similarity (99.9%) to the sequence of isolate KT-8-13 from the Kebrit Deep brine. In this initial survey, our polyphasic approach demonstrates that novel halophiles thrive in the anaerobic, deep-sea brine pool of the Kebrit Deep, Red Sea. They may contribute significantly to the anaerobic degradation of organic matter enriched at the brine-seawater interface.
Although the structure of the catalytic RNA component of ribonuclease P has been well characterized in Bacteria, it has been little studied in other organisms, such as the Archaea. We have determined the sequences encoding RNase P RNA in eight euryarchaeal species: Halococcus morrhuae, Natronobacterium gregoryi, Halobacterium cutirubrum, Halobacteriurn trapanicum, Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum strains deltaH and Marburg, Methanothermus fervidus and Thermococcus celer strain AL-1. On the basis of these and previously available sequences from Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, Haloferax volcanii and Methanosarcina barkeri the secondary structure of RNase P RNA in Archaea has been analyzed by phylogenetic comparative analysis. The archaeal RNAs are similar in both primary and secondary structure to bacterial RNase P RNAs, but unlike their bacterial counterparts these archaeal RNase P RNAs are not by themselves catalytically proficient in vitro.
Generally, extremophiles have been deemed to survive in the extreme environments to which they had adapted to grow. Recently many extremophiles have been isolated from places where they are not expected to grow. Alkaliphilic microorganisms have been isolated from acidic soil samples with pH 4.0, and thermophiles have been isolated from samples of low temperature. Numerous moderately halophilic microorganisms, defined as those that grow optimally in media containing 0.5–2.5 Molar (3–15%) NaCl, and halotolerant microorganisms that are able to grow in media without added NaCl and in the presence of high NaCl have been isolated from saline environments such as salterns, salt lakes and sea sands. It has tacitly been believed that habitats of halophiles able to grow in media containing more than 20% (3.4 M) are restricted to saline environments, and no reports have been published on the isolation of halophiles from ordinary garden soil samples.
We demonstrated that many halophilic bacteria that are able to grow in the presence of 20% NaCl are inhabiting in non-saline environments such as ordinary garden soils, yards, fields and roadways in an area surrounding Tokyo, Japan. Analyses of partial 16S rRNA gene sequences of 176 isolates suggested that they were halophiles belonging to genera of the family Bacillaceae, Bacillus (11 isolates), Filobacillus (19 isolates), Gracilibacillus (6 isolates), Halobacillus (102 isolates), Lentibacillus (1 isolate), Paraliobacillus (5 isolates) and Virgibacillus (17 isolates). Sequences of 15 isolates showed similarities less than 92%, suggesting that they may represent novel taxa within the family Bacillaceae.
The numbers of total bacteria of inland soil samples were in a range from 1.4 × 107/g to 1.1 × 106/g. One tenth of the total bacteria was occupied by endospore-forming bacteria. Only very few of the endospore-forming bacteria, roughly 1 out of 20,000, are halophilic bacteria. Most of the halophilic bacteria were surviving as endospores in the soil samples, in a range of less than 1 to about 500/g soil. Samples collected from seashore in a city confronting Tokyo Bay gave the total numbers of bacteria and endospores roughly 1000 time smaller than those of inland soil samples. Numbers of halophilic bacteria per gram, however, were almost the same as those of inland soil samples. A possible source of the halophilic endospore originating from Asian dust storms is discussed.
The lipid composition of the extremely halophilic archaeon
Haloquadratum walsbyi was investigated by thin-layer
chromatography and electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. The
analysis of neutral lipids showed the presence of vitamin MK-8,
squalene, carotene, bacterioruberin and several retinal isomers. The
major polar lipids were phosphatidylglycerophosphate methyl ester,
phosphatidylglycerosulfate, phosphatidylglycerol and sulfated
diglycosyl diether lipid. Among cardiolipins, the tetra-phytanyl or
dimeric phospholipids, only traces of bisphosphatidylglycerol were
detected. When the cells were exposed to hypotonic medium, no changes
in the membrane lipid composition occurred. Distinguishing it from
other extreme halophiles of the Halobacteriaceae
family, the osmotic stress did not induce the
neo-synthesis of cardiolipins in H. walsbyi. The
difference may depend on the three-laminar structure of the cell wall,
which differs significantly from that of other Haloarchaea.
Archaea; archaeal phospholipids; ether lipids; Halobacteriaceae
An extremely halophilic archaeon, strain ETD6, was isolated from a marine solar saltern in Sfax, Tunisia. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence showed that the isolate was phylogenetically related to species of the genus Halorubrum among the family Halobacteriaceae, with a close relationship to Hrr. xinjiangense (99.77%
of identity). However, value for DNA-DNA hybridization between strain ETD6 and Hrr.xinjiangense were about 24.5%. The G+C content of the genomic DNA was 65.1 mol%
(T(m)). Strain ETD6 grew in 15–35%
(w/v) NaCl. The temperature and pH ranges for growth were 20–55°C and 6–9, respectively. Optimal growth occurred at 25%
NaCl, 37°C, and pH 7.4. The results of the DNA hybridization against Hrr. xinjiangense and physiological and biochemical tests allowed genotypic and phenotypic differentiation of strain ETD6 from other Hrr. species. Therefore, strain ETD6 represents a novel species of the genus Halorubrum, for which the name Hrr. sfaxense sp. nov. is proposed. The Genbank EMBL-EBI accession number is GU724599.
Bacterial and archaeal aerobic communities were recovered from sediments from the shallow El-Djerid salt lake in Tunisia, and their salinity gradient distribution was established. Six samples for physicochemical and microbiological analyses were obtained from 6 saline sites in the lake for physico-chemical and microbiological analyses. All samples studied were considered hypersaline with NaCl concentration ranging from 150 to 260 g/L. A specific halophilic microbial community was recovered from each site, and characterization of isolated microorganisms was performed via both phenotypic and phylogenetic approaches. Only one extreme halophilic organism, domain Archaea, was isolated from site 4 only, whereas organisms in the domain Bacteria were recovered from the five remaining sampling sites that contained up to 250 g/L NaCl. Members of the domain Bacteria belonged to genera Salicola, Pontibacillus, Halomonas, Marinococcus, and Halobacillus, whereas the only member of domain Archaea isolated belonged to the genus Halorubrum. The results of this study are discussed in terms of the ecological significance of these microorganisms in the breakdown of organic matter in Lake El-Djerid and their potential for industry applications.
A total of 25 marine caulobacters were isolated from littoral marine sources. Several aspects of their physiology and morphology were examined, as well as their suitability for genetic manipulation in laboratory cultivation. Caulobacters were readily isolated from all sources, including samples from areas containing pollution-related organic compounds. All isolates grew best in media containing seawater, but eight strains grew if sea salts were replaced with NaCl alone, three strains grew at 1/10 the normal sea salt concentration, and one isolate grew, albeit poorly, in freshwater medium. Of the marine isolates, 12 strains grew under anaerobic conditions, indicating that some caulobacters are not obligately aerobic bacteria, as they are currently categorized. Although some freshwater caulobacters are able to oxidize manganese, this capability was not found in these marine caulobacters. Of the marine isolates, 10 strains were resistant to mercury chloride concentrations 10- to 20-fold greater than that tolerated by sensitive bacteria. However, a mercury reductase gene comparable with that found in R100-type plasmids was not detected by gene hybridization. With respect to the potential for genetic experimentation, most strains grew rapidly (3- to 4-h generation time at 30°C), producing colonies on solid media in 2 to 3 days. The isolates were sensitive to antibiotics commonly used in recombinant DNA experiments, and spontaneous drug-resistant mutants were selectable. Conjugal transfer of plasmids from Escherichia coli to several marine caulobacters was demonstrated for four broad-host-range plasmid incompatibility groups, by using both self-transmissible plasmids and cloning-oriented plasmids that require a helper plasmid. Conjugal transfer of broad-host-range plasmids between freshwater and marine caulobacters was also demonstrated in both directions. Native plasmids of approximately 100- to 150-kilobase sizes were found in 2 of the 25 marine Caulobacter strains. The native plasmids were present in relatively high copy number and appeared stable in laboratory culture. In short, the marine caulobacters appeared appropriate as candidates for genetic manipulation and the expression of selected genes in the marine environment.
Vibrio vulnificus is a halophilic marine vibrio which may produce infection in wounds exposed to seawater or raw shellfish. The Centers for Disease Control has received two isolates from wounds exposed to inland waters, a New Mexico creek and an Oklahoma reservoir. Halophilic organisms were recovered from both the creek and the reservoir, and the water in both sites was found to be brackish. Both clinical isolates of V. vulnificus grew in salt concentrations as low as those found in the creek and reservoir. These cases illustrate the potential for pathogenic halophilic Vibrio species to live in brackish inland waters and produce infections in patients living in inland areas of the United States.
Twenty-two extremely halophilic aerobic archaeal strains were isolated from enrichments prepared from Dead Sea water samples collected 57 years ago. The isolates were phenotypically clustered into five different groups, and a representative from each group was chosen for further study. Almost the entire sequences of the 16S rRNA genes of these representatives, and of Haloarcula hispanica ATCC 33960, were determined to establish their phylogenetic positions. The sequences of these strains were compared to previously published sequences of 27 reference halophilic archaea (members of the family Halobacteriaceae) and two other archaea, Methanobacterium formicicum DSM 1312 and Methanospirillum hungatei DSM 864. Phylogenetic analysis using approximately 1,400 base comparisons of 16S rRNA-encoding gene sequences demonstrated that the five isolates clustered closely to species belonging to three different genera--Haloferax, Halobacterium, and Haloarcula. Strains E1 and E8 were closely related and identified as members of the species Haloferax volcanii, and strain E12 was closely related and identified as a member of the species Halobacterium salinarum. However, strains E2 and E11 clustered in the Haloarcula branch with Haloarcula hispanica as the closest relative at 98.9 and 98.8% similarity, respectively. Strains E2 and E11 could represent two new species of the genus Haloarcula. However, because strains of these two new species were isolated from a single source, they will not be named until additional strains are isolated from other sources and fully characterized.
Extreme halophilic bacteria were isolated from the ocean off the coast of Spain. All were gram-negative cocci. One isolate was compared to Halococcus sp. NCMB 757 and was found to have similar characteristics.
Bacteria classified as extreme halophiles, in the genera Halobacterium and Halococcus, contain deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which displays two components in a CsCl equilibrium density gradient. The base composition of the major DNA component ranges from 66 to 68% guanine plus cytosine (GC), whereas that of the satellite DNA comprising some 11 to 36% of the total, is between 57 and 60% GC. Purification of the bacterial cells in a CsCl density gradient and other more conventional strain purification procedures both indicated that the presence of the satellite DNA component is not a result of mixed cultures.
In the summer of 2008, immediately prior to the Beijing Olympics, a massive green tide of the genus Ulva covered the Qingdao coast of the Yellow Sea in China. Based on molecular analyses using the nuclear encoded rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, the Qingdao strains dominating the green tide were reported to be included in a single phylogenetic clade, currently regarded as a single species. On the other hand, our detailed phylogenetic analyses of the clade, using a higher resolution DNA marker, suggested that two genetically separate entities could be included within the clade. However, speciation within the Ulva clade has not yet been examined. We examined the occurrence of an intricate speciation within the clade, including the Qingdao strains, via combined studies of culture, hybridization and phylogenetic analysis. The two entities separated by our phylogenetic analyses of the clade were simply distinguished as U. linza and U. prolifera morphologically by the absence or presence of branches in cultured thalli. The inclusion of sexual strains and several asexual strains were found in each taxon. Hybridizations among the sexual strains also supported the separation by a partial gamete incompatibility. The sexually reproducing Qingdao strains crossed with U. prolifera without any reproductive boundary, but a complete reproductive isolation to U. linza occurred by gamete incompatibility. The results demonstrate that the U. prolifera group includes two types of sexual strains distinguishable by crossing affinity to U. linza. Species identification within the Ulva clade requires high resolution DNA markers and/or hybridization experiments and is not possible by reliance on the ITS markers alone.
Hortaea werneckii and Aureobasidium pullulans, black yeast-like fungi isolated from hypersaline waters of salterns as their natural ecological niche, have been previously defined as halophilic and halotolerant microorganisms, respectively. In the present study we assessed their growth and determined the intracellular cation concentrations of salt-adapted and non-salt-adapted cells of both species at a wide range of salinities (0 to 25% NaCl and 0 to 20% NaCl, respectively). Although 5% NaCl improved the growth of H. werneckii, even the minimal addition of NaCl to the growth medium slowed down the growth rate of A. pullulans, confirming their halophilic and halotolerant nature. Salt-adapted cells of H. werneckii and A. pullulans kept very low amounts of internal Na+ even when grown at high NaCl concentrations and can be thus considered Na+ excluders, suggesting the existence of efficient mechanisms for the regulation of ion fluxes. Based on our results, we can conclude that these organisms do not use K+ or Na+ for osmoregulation. Comparison of cation fluctuations after a hyperosmotic shock, to which nonadapted cells of both species were exposed, demonstrated better ionic homeostasis regulation of H. werneckii compared to A. pullulans. We observed small fluctuations of cation concentrations after a hyperosmotic shock in nonadapted A. pullulans similar to those in salt-adapted H.werneckii, which additionally confirmed better regulation of ionic homeostasis in the latter. These features can be expected from organisms adapted to survival within a wide range of salinities and to occasional exposure to extremely high NaCl concentrations, both characteristic for their natural environment.
Nine chemically defined inoculation diluents, with compositions ranging from 0.85% NaCl to 35% marine salts, were used to evaluate the influence of diluent composition on the biochemical profiles of 30 marine and estuarine bacterial strains, including species of Vibrio, Aeromonas, Allomonas, and Photobacterium. Results demonstrated that a 20% marine salts diluent enabled the characterization of halophilic strains normally nonreactive by the API 20E system. Furthermore, the use of 20% marine salts showed that certain environmental isolates, identifiable as Vibrio parahaemolyticus by the recommended clinical inoculation procedure, were Vibrio vulnificus. An analysis of the profiles provided by the nine diluents indicates that the API 20E system, modified by the use of a diluent composed of 20% marine salts and incubated at 22 degrees C, can provide a reliable tool for the rapid characterization of marine and estuarine bacterial isolates.
Bacterial microorganisms that grow optimally at Na+ concentrations of 1.7 M, or the equivalent of 10% (w/v) NaCl, and greater are considered to be extreme halophiles. This review focuses on the correlation between the extent of alkaline pH and elevated temperature optima and the extent of salt tolerance of extremely halophilic eubacteria; the focus is on those with alkaline pH optima, above 8.5, and elevated temperature optima, above 50°C. If all three conditions are required for optimal growth, these microorganisms are termed "poly-extremophiles". However, only a very few extreme halophiles able to grow optimally under alkaline conditions as well as at elevated temperatures have been isolated so far. Therefore the question is: do the combined extreme growth conditions of the recently isolated poly-extremophiles, i.e., anaerobic halophilic alkalithermophiles, approach a physico-chemical boundary for life? These poly-extremophiles are of interest, as their adaptive mechanisms give insight into organisms' abilities to survive in environments which were previously considered prohibitive to life, as well as to possible properties of early evolutionary and extraterrestrial life forms.