Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pscyhrophines, hypobariophiles and radiophile

In researching how we’re going to detect microbes in the stratosphere I have been looking into what they might have to deal with – the cold (psychrophiles), low pressure (hypobariophiles) and radiation (radiophiles). There’s quite a bit of research out there reporting on psychrophiles – many organisms are surviving in the ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic, from bacteria or fungi. A whole conference has been held on them! There’re also reports on radiophiles, such as Deinococcus radiodurans, which is being exploited by NASA. But of hypobariophiles there is little (actually none that I can find) information of their existence. We should also think that these organisms will be xerophiles, meaning they can tolerate and grow in low water conditions, these can also be halophiles eg the fungus Trichosporonoides nigrescen, or endoliths, that live inside rocks, which would help with radiation protection too. The latter tend to be autotrophs too, making essential chemicals by themselves. Some many requirements......can there be such an organism?

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