Pyruvate: A key nutrient in hypersaline environments?

Aharon Oren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Some of the most commonly occurring but difficult to isolate halophilic prokaryotes, Archaea as well as Bacteria, require or prefer pyruvate as carbon and energy source. The most efficient media for the enumeration and isolation of heterotrophic prokaryotes from natural environments, from freshwater to hypersaline, including the widely used R2A agar medium, contain pyruvate as a key ingredient. Examples of pyruvate-loving halophiles are the square, extremely halophilic archaeon Haloquadratum walsbyi and the halophilic gammaproteobacterium Spiribacter salinus. However, surprisingly little is known about the availability of pyruvate in natural environments and about the way it enters the cell. Some halophilic Archaea (Halorubrum saccharovorum, Haloarcula spp.) partially convert sugars and glycerol to pyruvate and other acids (acetate, lactate) which are excreted to the medium. Pyruvate formation from glycerol was also shown during a bloom of halophilic Archaea in the Dead Sea. However, no pyruvate transporters were yet identified in the genomes of halophilic Archaea, and altogether, our understanding of pyruvate transport in the prokaryote world is very limited. Therefore, the preference for pyruvate by fastidious and often elusive halophiles and the empirically proven enhanced colony recovery on agar media containing pyruvate are still poorly understood.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)407-416
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Dihydroxyacetone
  • Glycerol
  • Halobacteriaceae
  • Haloquadratum
  • Halosimplex
  • Pyruvate
  • Spiribacter


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