Anaerobic degradation of organic compounds at high salt concentrations

Aharon Oren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


A number of obligately anaerobic fermentative bacteria are known to degrade a variety of organic substrates such as sugars, amino acids, and others, in the presence of high salt concentrations (up to 3-4 M) to products such as hydrogen, CO2, acetate and higher fatty acids, and ethanol. Our understanding of the fate of these products in hypersaline environments is still extremely limited. The occurrence of bacterial sulfate reduction is well established at salt concentrations of up to 24%; however, the bacteria involved have not yet been isolated in pure culture, and the range of electron donors used is unknown. Halophilic or halotolerant methanogenic bacteria using hydrogen/CO2 or acetate as energy source are notably absent; methanogenesis under hypersaline conditions is probably limited to such substrates as methanol and methylamines, which cannot be expected to be major products of anaerobic degradation of most organic compounds.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)267-277
Number of pages11
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1988


  • anaerobic
  • fermentation
  • halophilic
  • methanogenesis
  • sulfate reduction


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