It is now well-established that viruses are the most abundant biological entities on Earth and are estimated to harbor the second greatest biomass after prokaryotes, equivalent to the amount of carbon found in ~75 million blue whales (the largest organism on Earth) Suttle (Nature 437(7057):356–361, 2005). College textbooks commonly quote a global estimate of 1030–1031 individual phages Acheson (Fundamentals of molecular virology. Wiley, p 5 2007); Flint et al. (Principles of virology v.1 molecular biology. ASM Washington, DC, p 4, 2009), and investigations have reported a range between 106 and 109 viruses per milliliter in samples taken from various aquatic habitats Fuhrman (Nature 399(6736):541–548, 1999); Wommack and Colwell (Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 64(1):69–114, 2000); Jiang et al. (Microb Ecol 47(1):9–17, 2004); Suttle (Nature 437(7057):356–361, 2005); Baxter et al. (Haloviruses of Great Salt Lake: a model for understanding viral diversity. In: Ventosa A, Oren A, Ma Y (eds) Halophiles and hypersaline environments: current research and future trends. Springer, New York. p 173–190, 2011); Sime-Ngando et al. (Environ Microbiol 13(8):1956–1972, 2011). While the scientific literature indicates that over 5,500 phages have been described Ackermann (Arch Virol 152(2):227–243, 2007), much of the scientific community has focused attention on the relatively fewer pathogenic viruses of humans, animals, and agricultural crops. Nonetheless, phages (previously bacteriophages) have played an essential role in basic biological research, even becoming the basis for establishing the field of molecular genetics Summers (Basic phage research and major scientific discoveries associated with bacteriophages. In: Kutter E, Sulakvelidze A (eds) Bacteriophages: biology and applications. CRC, New York, p 12–23, 2005).


Hypersaline Halophily Metavirome VLPs Virus-like Particles Positive Pressure Filtration 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyLa Sierra UniversityRiversideUSA

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