Whole-organism acid methanolysates of strains of halophilic bacteria were examined for glycerol diether moieties and other long-chain constituents by thin-layer chromatography. Glycerol diether moieties were detected only in acid methanolysates of archaebacterial halophiles. Eubacterial halophiles contained only fatty acid methyl esters. Spots on thin-layer plates attributed to diether moieties were further identified by infrared spectroscopy. Thin-layer chromatographic analysis of whole-organism methanolysates provides a simple and rapid method of distinguishing archaebacterial halophiles from eubacterial halophiles. The majority of archaebacterial halophiles produced only one chromatographically distinct glycerol diether moiety, but certain strains, including the recently described alkalophilic halophiles, produced two distinct moieties.


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