HALOARCHAEA – primal forms of life, which are similar to bacteria, but are actually more closely related to plants and animals. They are often adapted to unusual habitats, such as hot springs, extremely acidic waters, places without oxygen or – like Halobacterium salinarum – high salt concentrations. This microorganism grows in salt and salt lakes.
Over millions of years, Halobacterium salinarum produced specific molecules to cope with high salt conditions and extreme UV radiation. Even in salt crystals, it has survived hundreds of years. Since the microbes contain red dyes, they make salt lakes and sea salt-producing plants appear red-violet. The dyes (carotenoids) of Halobacterium salinarum accumulate in the food chain: small salt crustaceans ingest the microorganisms, which flamingos consume and which gives them their distinctive feathers.
Effective generation of biomass of Halobacterium salinarum in order to produce unique biomaterials still remains a challenge…until now.