Hypersaline environments are those with salt concentrations 9–10 times higher (30–35% of NaCl) than sea water (3.5% of NaCl). At high concentrations of soluble salts, cytoplasm—mainly of bacteria and archaea—is exposed to high ionic strength and achieves osmotic equilibrium by maintaining a cytoplasmic salt concentration similar to that of the surrounding media. Halophilic enzymes are extremozymes produced by halophilic microorganisms; they have similar characteristics to regular enzymes but different properties, mainly structural. Among these properties is a high requirement of salt for biological functions. Furthermore, the discovery of enzymes capable of degrading biopolymers offer a new perspective in the treatment of residues from oil deposits, under typically high conditions of salt and temperature, while giving valuable information on heterotrophic processes in saline environments.
Part of the book: Kinetics of Enzymatic Synthesis