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Surviving the Extremes of Life – Introduction to Microbiology

by Vincent Racaniello, PhD
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    00:00 exist.

    00:00 Now as I said before, microbes are very good in surviving extremes, let's explore this a little bit. Some microbes can survive enough radiation that would kill humans thousands of times over. They can survive five megarads of gamma radiation. They can survive pressures that would easily crush a car, 8,000 atmospheres. They grow at extremes, they can grow anywhere from pH 0, extremely acid, to pH 11, extremely alkaline. They can grow at temperature extremes, from incredibly cold to incredibly hot, 121°C. They can grow at high pressures and they can grow in high salt. Many bacteria and archaea grow in lakes that are very very salty. We use this extreme nature of bacteria in our own daily life. For example, the polymerase chain reaction is a reaction that's widely used in biotechnology, in forensics and in research to detect very small amounts of DNA. This procedure requires incubation at high temperatures and the only reason we can do this is, is because of a bacterium that was isolated from the hotsprings in Yellowstone National Park, that has an enzyme that will survive high temperatures. If you wash your clothes in hot water, you have the bacteria to thank for that. Laundry detergents have within them an enzyme called the hydrolase, that is isolated from the thermophilic bacteria. And these are just two examples of the many ways that we take advantage of the extremophiles out there in the microworld. Microbes are


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Surviving the Extremes of Life – Introduction to Microbiology by Vincent Racaniello, PhD is from the course Microbiology: Introduction.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Pressures up to 8,000 atms
    2. pH of 14
    3. Temperatures of 0 degrees Kelvin
    4. 1000 megarads of gamma radiation
    5. 32 M of NaCl

    Author of lecture Surviving the Extremes of Life – Introduction to Microbiology

     Vincent Racaniello, PhD

    Vincent Racaniello, PhD


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