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Extremophile

From Academic Kids

An extremophile is an organism, usually unicellular, which thrives in or requires "extreme" conditions. The definition of "extreme" is anthropocentric; to the organism itself its environment is completely normal. Thus, strictly, "extremophilic" labels should be used to describe the environment that an organism thrives in, regardless of how "normal" or "extreme" they may seem to human beings. For example, human beings are classified as a mesophilic aerobe.

When used in the context of describing organisms that thrive in environments that are extreme from human perspectives, most extremophiles are members of the Archaea family, although the terms are occasionally used interchangeably to describe the many extremophilic bacteria and eukarya. Not all extremophiles are unicellular. Examples of extremophilic metazoa are the psychrophilic Grylloblattodea (insects) and antarctic krill (crustaceans).

Types of extremophiles

There are many different classes of extremophiles, each corresponding to the way its chosen environment differs from what is considered "normal" by other organisms. These classifications are not exclusive. Many extremophiles fall under multiple categories. For example, organisms living inside hot rocks deep under Earth's surface are both thermophilic and barophilic.

Bacteria on the Moon

Apollo 12 astronauts retrieved parts from the lunar probe Surveyor 3 for analysis. A common bacteria, Streptococcus mitis, was unintentionally present inside the spacecraft's camera at launch. Around 50 to 100 of these bacteria survived dormant in this harsh environment for three years, to be detected when Apollo 12 brought the camera back to Earth. Many bacteria have dormant forms which can survive in harsh environments, and merely being dormant is not sufficient to make an organism be considered an extremophile.

External links

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nl:Extremofiel ja:極限環境微生物

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