Selective enrichment, isolation and molecular detection of Salinibacter and related extremely halophilic Bacteria from hypersaline environments

Rahel Elevi Bardavid, Danny Ionescu, Aharon Oren*, Fred A. Rainey, Becky J. Hollen, Danielle R. Bagaley, Alanna M. Small, Christopher McKay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Salinibacter is a genus of red, extremely halophilic Bacteria. Thus far the genus is represented by a single species, Salinibacter ruber, strains of which have been isolated from saltern crystallizer ponds in Spain and on the Balearic Islands. Both with respect to its growth conditions and its physiology, Salinibacter resembles the halophilic Archaea of the order Halobacteriales. We have designed selective enrichment and isolation techniques to obtain Salinibacter and related red extremely halophilic Bacteria from different hypersaline environments, based on their resistance to anisomycin and bacitracin, two antibiotics that are potent inhibitors of the halophilic Archaea. Using direct plating on media containing bacitracin, we found Salinibacter-like organisms in numbers between 1.4×103 and 1.4×106ml-1 in brines collected from the crystallizer ponds of the salterns in Eilat, Israel, being equivalent to 1.8-18% of the total colony counts obtained on identical media without bacitracin. A number of strains from Eilat were subjected to a preliminary characterization, and they proved similar to the type strain of S. ruber. We also report here the isolation and molecular detection of Salinibacter-like organisms from an evaporite crust on the bottom of salt pools at the Badwater site in Death Valley, CA. These isolates and environmental 16S rRNA gene sequences differ in a number of properties from S. ruber, and they may represent a new species of Salinibacter or a new related genus.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank the Israel Salt Company in Eilat, Israel for allowing access to the salterns, and the staff of Death Valley National Park for allowing sampling the Badwater site. We are further grateful to the staff of the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences of Eilat for logistic support, and to Prof. Zeev Aizenshtat and to Irena Miloslavski for their assistance with the operation of the GC/MS and the staff of the Geological Survey of Israel for the chemical analysis of the brine of the Badwater site. This study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 504/03). The sampling expedition to Death Valley was supported by NASA’s Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets Program. Support for Fred A. Rainey was provided by NASA-ARC/LSU Cooperative agreements (NCC 2-5469 and NCC 2-5528). Danny Ionescu was supported by the State of Lower-Saxony and the Volkswagen Foundation, Hannover, Germany.


  • Anisomycin
  • Bacitracin
  • Death Valley
  • Enrichment
  • Hypersaline
  • Salinibacter
  • Salterns


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