What is an Extremophile?

Posted on November 18, 2006  Comments (3)

What is an Extremophile?

An extremophile is an organism that thrives under “extreme” conditions. The term frequently refers to prokaryotes and is sometimes used interchangeably with Archaea.

The term extremophile is relatively anthropocentric. We judge habitats based on what would be considered “extreme” for human existence. Many organisms, for example, consider oxygen to be poisonous.

The site includes interesting photos and details on all sorts of extremophiles: Anaerobe (don’t require oxygen) – Endolith (live inside rocks) – Thermophile (enjoy over 40 °C).

Related: Types of MicrobesLife Untouched by the Sun

3 Responses to “What is an Extremophile?”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Bacterium Living with High Level Radiation
    May 16th, 2007 @ 7:18 pm

    […] “In addition to thriving in the face of normally-lethal radiation, the organism also demonstrates remarkable survival characteristics in terms of its DNA. Humans and most organisms can tolerate few breaks in DNA molecules, he said, but kineococcus radiotolerans has the ability to reassemble itself.” […]

  2. CuriousCat: Bacteria Frozen for 8 Million Years In Polar Ice Resuscitated
    August 7th, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

    “They then attempted to resuscitate the organisms in the oldest and the youngest samples. ‘We tried to grow them in media, and the young stuff grew really fast. We could plate them and isolate colonies,’ says Bidle. The cultures grown from organisms found in the 100,000-year-old ice doubled in size every 7 days on average…”

  3. CuriousCat: Lake Under 2 Miles of Ice
    August 10th, 2007 @ 6:26 pm

    “It is not unreasonable to suggest that cold-tolerant creatures could thrive in the waters of Lake Vostok, overcoming the oxygen saturation with extraordinary natural antioxidants. But millions of years of evolutionary isolation in an extreme environment may have created some truly bizarre organisms.”

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