What are Halophiles?

Halophiles (Greek = salt lovers) are “Organisms which require a minimum concentration of sodium chloride in their environment.”

(IUPAC Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd edition, 1997)

That minimum salt concentration can reach the saturation point of salt in water at around 5 M (30%, or 300 g/L) -  or more than 10 times the salt concentration in sea water. Halophilic microorganisms are normally easy to cultivate and they are harmless, since they cease growth and lyse at the low salinity of our usual environment.

General information on halophilic microorganisms can be found on a number of excellent web sites. Examples are:

The Internet Encyclopedia of Science and obviously


(C) 2009 Heiko Patzelt