Halobacteria are salt loving (halophile) bacteria which live in highly concentrated salt environments like the Dead Sea, the Salton Sea and the Great Salt Lake. Halobacteria are also part of a group of bacteria- like organisms called extremophiles. Extremophiles live in extreme environments like boiling hot springs, or acids. Halobacteria belongs to anther group of organisms called the archaebacteria. The archaebaceria are bacteria-like organisms which differ from “true” bacteria (eubacteria) because they possess unusual cell wall and membrane features, and genetic sequences not typically found in eubacteria.
In our lab we are learning how to grow and observe Halobacteria. We have recently discovered that Halobacteria tend to be inhibited from growing near paper disks placed on the salty agar on which they like to grow. The paper disks are often used to test the antibiotic sensitivity of bacteria because the paper disks can be soaked with antibiotic before placed on the disks. Bacteria are then added to the agar and observed after a few days of growth to see if they avoid growing near the disks. We recently tested this and to our surprise, the Halobacterium avoided growing near most of the disks whether they were soaked with antibiotic or not.
We are currently developing hypothesis related to this phenomenon. Please feel free to suggest hypothesis regarding this phenomenon in our “hypothesis suggestion” box below.