Metagenomics provides culture-independent access to gene pool of the whole microbial communities. To identify genes responsible for salt tolerance in unculturable bacteria, Escherichia coli clones were enriched with an ability to grow at inhibitory NaCl concentrations (750 mM) from a pond water metagenomic library. From two unique clones, genes encoding for proteins with similarity to a putative general stress protein (GspM) harbouring GsiB domain and a putative enoyl-CoA hydratase (EchM) were identified to be responsible for salt tolerance. The gspM was expressed by its native promoter whereas the echM was expressed from the lacZ promoter of the plasmid. EchM was overexpressed with a hexahistidyl tag. Purified EchM showed crotonyl-CoA hydratase activity. These genes have potential application in generating salt tolerant recombinant bacteria or transgenic plants.