Halocins: Are they involved in the competition between halobacteria in saltern ponds?

Tamar Kis-Papo, Aharon Oren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many representatives of the family Halobacteriaceae ('halobacteria') excrete halophilic bacteriocins (halocins) that inhibit the growth of other halobacteria. In spite of the fact that halocin production is widespread among the Halobacteriaceae, no information is available on their ecological significance. To test whether halocins may play a role in the interspecies competition between different types of halobacteria in saltern crystallizer ponds inhabited by dense communities of these red halophiles, we assayed for halocins active against a variety of halobacteria in salterns from different locations worldwide. Detection of halocin activity was based on the inhibition of growth of indicator organisms on agar plates, the decreased incorporation of radiolabeled substrates, and microscopic examinations. No halocin activity was detected in any of the brines examined, in spite of the fact that halocin production was demonstrated in cultures of most microorganisms isolated from these brines. Thus, the contribution of halocins in the competition between different halobacteria in hypersaline aquatic environments is probably negligible.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalExtremophiles
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
sity, Flagstaff, AZ, USA) for his contribution of strains and for valuable advice, and F. Rodríguez-Valera and C.D. Litchfield for their hospitality and their help in sampling the salterns at Alicante and Newark. We also thank the Israel Salt Company, the Cargill Solar Salt Co., Newark, CA, USA, and Mr. Miguel Cuervo Arango, owner of the Santa Pola salterns, for allowing access to the saltern plants. This study was supported by grant no. 95-00027 from the United States–Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF, Jerusalem).

Keywords

  • Halobacteria
  • Halocins
  • Salterns

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