The HaloEd Project

A web site dedicated to microbiology education

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Teacher's nook


As educators at the high school, we found that there was little emphasis placed on microbiology and biotechnology education while the world at large was moving rapidly into a technology-driven micro-world, one filled with new innovations and ideas coming from research on bacteria and Archaea. Our research on Halobacterium species, made us realize that these microbes were a fine example of organisms that could be used for teaching. In addition to this, Halobacteria make a natural bridge for co-teaching.

We have listed some of the main ideas why Halobacteria are so ideal. And we hope that this website will provide a useful resource for those wanting to use this fabulous system for teaching.

In order to solve the main obstacles to teaching microbiology and biotechnology, such as:



        -difficulty scheduling labs



Pink and red colonies of Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 on agar salt plates.




We decided that we would use  Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 because:

        -They are beautiful!


        -will only grow in media specific for them: avoiding potential growth of contaminants; the salinity levels would be too high for non-halophilic organisms to survive in

        -do not need special growth-chambers: they can be cultured at room temperature

        -do not require extremely sterile techniques for streaking plates (no worry about Bunsen burners or contamination)

        -can be stored easily, for long periods of time

        -do not require extremely toxic chemicals for basic techniques: they require mainly inexpensive and easily obtained materials to culture and manipulate

        -are easily lysed by water

        -are easily manipulated

        -are good for scheduling weekly labs (have 3-7day culturing period)

        -are well characterized: the whole genome has been sequenced, physiology and biochemistry studied

        -are readily available (inexpensive) commercially

        -are very relevant to current events, biotechnology

        -have been well studied and genetic and biotechnological tools have been developed (see Halophile Manual)


Teacher's nook


Role in food chain


Radiation resistance

Cellular energetics


Genome sequence




Lesson plans

Co-teaching hints



Further reading


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Please direct your comments to Priya DasSarma