- Abundance and seasonal dynamics of sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), in general, and of extreme halophilic SRB (belonging to Desulfocella halophila) in particular, were examined in highly saline industrial wastewater evaporation ponds over a forty one month period. Industrial wastewater was sampled and the presence of SRB was determined by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) with a set of primers designed to amplify the dissimilatory sulfite reductase (dsrA) gene. SRB displayed higher abundance during the summer (10(6)-10(8) targets ml(-1)) and lower abundance from the autumn-spring (10(3)-10(5) targets ml(-1)). However, addition of concentrated dissolved organic matter into the evaporation ponds during winter immediately resulted in a proliferation of SRB, despite the lower wastewater temperature (12-14 degrees C). These results indicate that the qPCR approach can be used for rapid measurement of SRB to provide valuable information about the abundance of SRB in harsh environments, such as highly saline industrial wastewaters. Low level of H2S has been maintained over five years, which indicates a possible inhibition of SRB activity, following artificial salination (approximately 16% w/v of NaCl) of wastewater evaporation ponds, despite SRB reproduction being detected by qPCR.