Glycerol metabolism in hypersaline environments

Aharon Oren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Glycerol is a key compound for the understanding of the microbiology of hypersaline environments. At the highest salt concentrations the main or even sole primary producer is the green unicellular alga Dunaliella, which uses photosynthetically produced glycerol as osmotic stabilizer and compatible solute. Glycerol can be expected to be a major carbon source available to the heterotrophic communities of Archaea and Bacteria in hypersaline ecosystems. Use of Dunaliella has even been explored for the commercial production of glycerol. This article reviews our current understanding of glycerol metabolism in Dunaliella and of the ways glycerol can be degraded by heterotrophic prokaryote communities under aerobic and under anaerobic conditions. Dunaliella-derived glycerol may also be the key toward long-term survival of heterotrophic prokaryotes in fluid inclusions within salt crystals.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)851-863
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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