Exploring halophilic environments as a source of new antibiotics

Thomas P. Thompson, Brendan F. Gilmore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Downloads (Pure)


Microbial natural products from microbes in extreme environments, including haloarchaea, and halophilic bacteria, possess a huge capacity to produce novel antibiotics. Additionally, enhanced isolation techniques and improved tools for genomic mining have expanded the efficiencies in the antibiotic discovery process. This review article provides a detailed overview of known antimicrobial compounds produced by halophiles from all three domains of life. We summarize that while halophilic bacteria, in particular actinomycetes, contribute the vast majority of these compounds the importance of understudied halophiles from other domains of life requires additional consideration. Finally, we conclude by discussing upcoming technologies- enhanced isolation and metagenomic screening, as tools that will be required to overcome the barriers to antimicrobial drug discovery. This review highlights the potential of these microbes from extreme environments, and their importance to the wider scientific community, with the hope of provoking discussion and collaborations within halophile biodiscovery. Importantly, we emphasize the importance of bioprospecting from communities of lesser-studied halophilic and halotolerant microorganisms as sources of novel therapeutically relevant chemical diversity to combat the high rediscovery rates. The complexity of halophiles will necessitate a multitude of scientific disciplines to unravel their potential and therefore this review reflects these research communities.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalCritical Reviews in Microbiology
Early online date20 Apr 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 Apr 2023


  • halophilic bacteria
  • natural products
  • Halophiles
  • antimicrobial discovery
  • actinomycetes


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring halophilic environments as a source of new antibiotics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this