Flow Cytometric Investigation of Salinicola halophilus S28 Physiological Response Provides Solid Evidence for Its Uncommon and High Ability to Face Salt-Stress Conditions
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Salinicola halophilusFlow cytometryCell physiological statusSalinity stressSaline di Tarquinia
Juárez-Jiménez, B.; Fenice, M.; Pasqualetti, M.; Muñoz-Palazon, B.; Correa-Galeote, D.; Braconcini, M.; Gorrasi, S. Flow Cytometric Investigation of Salinicola halophilus S28 Physiological Response Provides Solid Evidence for Its Uncommon and High Ability to Face Salt-Stress Conditions. Microbiol. Res. 2023, 14, 454–465. [https://doi.org/10.3390/ microbiolres14020034]
In a previous work, some bacterial strains isolated from the Saline di Tarquinia marine salterns (Viterbo, Italy) showed very unusual growth profiles in relation to temperature and salinity variations when grown in solid media. In particular, Salinicola halophilus S28 showed optimal or suboptimal growth in a very wide range of NaCl concentrations, suggesting a great coping ability with salinity variations. These intriguing outcomes did not fit with the general Salinicola halophilus description as a moderately halophilic species. Therefore, this study profiles the actual physiological status of S28 cells subjected to different NaCl concentrations to provide evidence for the actual coping ability of strain S28 with broad salinity variations. Flow cytometry was selected as the evaluation method to study the physiological status of bacterial cells subjected to different salinity levels, monitoring the strain response at different growth phases over 72 h. Strain S28 showed maximal growth at 8% NaCl; however, it grew very well with no statistically significant differences at all salinity conditions (4–24% NaCl). Flow cytometric results provided clear evidence of its actual and strong ability to face increasing salinity, revealing a good physiological response up to 24% of NaCl. In addition, strain S28 showed very similar cell physiological status at all salinity levels, as also indicated by the flat growth profile revealed in the range of 4–24% NaCl. This is the first study regarding the physiological response during the growth of halophilic bacteria under different conditions of salinity via flow cytometry. This technique represents an effective tool for the investigation of the physiological status of each cell, even if it is somehow underrated and underused by microbiologists for this purpose.