Halobacterium salinarum needs very little to survive, but a Growth Medium is vital because it will be acting as a salty environment and provide nutrients for growth. A warm place around 37 degrees Celsius is ideal but not required; the heat simulates a warm climate which causes H. salinarium to grow at a faster rate. Agitation is important to circulate air and also helps Halo grow faster.
H. salinarium is a halophilic and thermophilic model organism, which is commonly mistaken to be a bacterium because of its name but it is actually in the Archaea domain. They shares certain qualities of both domains, they have gas vesicles, flagella, and a cell wall like bacteria, but it can survive in high saline environments as well as high temperatures like other Achaeans. H. salinarium are often found in places with high salt concentration like San Francisco Bay, the Great Salt Lake, Yellowstone National Park, and many other places with saline levels around 4M+.
For H. salinarium to survive in these environments without osmotic stress tearing their cell walls apart when salt levels change, they have osmoprotectants which helps to equilibrize them with their environment. These osmoprotectants allow the H. salinarium to pump large amounts of salt into its cell, but at the same time it can be a potentially lethal threat; if they are exposed to low molarity water, osmosis causes water to flood the cell causing the membrane to lyse or burst. To obtain the purple or reddish color, H. salinarium needs to make bacteriorhodopsin, a protein found in the membrane. There are many ways that it can do this, they include photophosphorylation, fermentation, the Krebs cycle, substrate-level phosphorylation, and oxidative phosphorylation. Bacteriorhodopsin captures light which is used to make other useful chemicals. They are single celled and rod shaped, they are unique because they are the only photoautotrophic archaeons.
H. salinarium are often used in lab research because they are very similar to eukaryotes and they have simple DNA that has been completely sequenced which makes them easy to manipulate and study than other organisms. They also are ideal for sterility because of their high saline environment will not allow anything else to grow.
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