Characterization of Halophilic/Halotolerant Bacteria Isolated from the Hypersaline Environment of Khewra, District Jhelum

Ayisha Javed, Sana Zahoor, Muhammad Mohsin Javed, Faisal Sheraz Shah, Fatima Mansoor


Background: Khewra salt mine is an extremely saline habitat of Pakistan that provides a suitable environment for salt loving microorganisms, halophiles. Halophiles grow in high salt concentration and are excellent sources of enzymes that perform catalytic reactions competently under extreme conditions.

Methods: A total of twenty-five samples (rocks, soil, water, and salt drippings), collected from Khewra salt mine and its vicinity, were checked for growth. Isolates were purified and characterized by Biochemical and Molecular Tests. The isolates were also screened for biotechnological potential.

Results: Samples (n=12) did not show growth, while samples (n=13) showed growth on high salt media. Isolates showed growth on 1-29% NaCl concentration, 15oC-40oC temperature and pH 6.5-9.0. Molecular analysis showed that isolate AJS-21y was closely related (98% similarity) to Salinicoccus roseus while isolate AJS-22 belonged to Bacillaceae family and was closely related (99% similarity) to Piscibacillus sp. Both isolates gave extracellular production of amylase.

Conclusion: Current study showed the presence of Salinicoccus spand Piscibacillus sp. in Khewra salt mine, Pakistan. The ability of isolates AJS-21y and AJS-22 to survive at high salt concentrations and production of extracellular amylase made them highly attractive for industrial applications and synthesizing transgenic crops tolerating high salinity.

Keywords: Khewra; Characterization; Halophilic; Halotolerant; SalinicoccusPiscibacillus    

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