Literature on hydrocarbon degradation in extreme hypersaline media presents studies that point to a negative effect of salinity increase on hydrocarbonoclastic activity, while several others report an opposite tendency. Based on information available in the literature, we present a discussion on the reasons that justify these contrary results. Despite the fact that microbial ability to metabolize hydrocarbons is found in extreme hypersaline media, indeed some factors are critical for the occurrence of hydrocarbon degradation in such environments. How these factors affect hydrocarbon degradation and their implications for the assessment of hydrocarbon biodegradation in hypersaline environments are presented in this review.
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