Haloarchaea, the extremely halophilic branch of the Archaea domain, encompass a steadily increasing number of genera and associated species which accumulate polyhydroxyalkanoate biopolyesters in their cytoplasm. Such ancient organisms, which thrive in highly challenging, often hostile habitats characterized by salinities between 100 and 300 g/L NaCl, have the potential to outperform established polyhydroxyalkanoate production strains. As detailed in the review, this optimization presents due to multifarious reasons, including: cultivation setups at extreme salinities can be performed at minimized sterility precautions by excluding the growth of microbial contaminants; the high inner-osmotic pressure in haloarchaea cells facilitates the recovery of intracellular biopolyester granules by cell disintegration in hypo-osmotic media; many haloarchaea utilize carbon-rich waste streams as main substrates for growth and polyhydroxyalkanoate biosynthesis, which allows coupling polyhydroxyalkanoate production with bio-economic waste management; finally, in many cases, haloarchaea are reported to produce copolyesters from structurally unrelated inexpensive substrates, and polyhydroxyalkanoate biosynthesis often occurs in parallel to the production of additional marketable bio-products like pigments or polysaccharides. This review summarizes the current knowledge about polyhydroxyalkanoate production by diverse haloarchaea; this covers the detection of new haloarchaea producing polyhydroxyalkanoates, understanding the genetic and enzymatic particularities of such organisms, kinetic aspects, material characterization, upscaling and techno-economic and life cycle assessment.
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