Two obligate alkaliphiles were found to have high levels of fatty acid desaturase, whereas two facultative alkaliphiles had no detectable activity. Supplementation of the growth medium of one facultative strain with palmitoleic acid, but not palmitic acid, at pH 7.5 inhibited growth. The obligate strain outgrows the facultative strain in a chemostat at a very high pH, whereas the converse is true at a pH of 7.5, and the two strains grow equally well at pH 9.0. Thus, the obligate strain is compromised at a near-neutral pH but is better adapted than a related facultative alkaliphile to an extremely alkaline pH
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