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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Halobacterium salinarium

Archaea that have adapted to live in waters with exceptionally high salt concentrations are called halophiles. One example of this type of organism is Halobacterium salinarium, which is rod-shaped, produces pink pigments called carotenoids, and forms extensive areas of pink scum on salt flats. The cell membranes of halophiles contain substances that make them more stable than other types of cell membranes, preventing them from falling apart in the high salt concentrations in which they live. Their cell walls are also modified, for the same reason. Halophiles obtain nourishment from organic matter in the water. In addition, their pigments absorb some light energy, which the bacteria then use for fueling processes within the cells.

  • Domain Archaea
  • Size 0.001–0.006 mm
  • Distribution Dead Sea and other hypersaline areas of the world