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Title: Hyperthermophile  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Thermophile, Extremophile, Geysers, Geyser, Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Structural Genomics Consortium
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A hyperthermophile is an organism that thrives in extremely hot environments— from 60 °C (140 °F) upwards. An optimal temperature for the existence of hyperthermophiles is above 80 °C (176 °F). Hyperthermophiles are a subset of Archaea, although some bacteria are able to tolerate temperatures of around 100 °C (212 °F), as well. Some bacteria can live at temperatures higher than 100 °C at large depths in sea where water does not boil because of high pressure. Many hyperthermophiles are also able to withstand other environmental extremes such as high acidity or radiation levels.


  • History 1
  • Research 2
  • Cell structure 3
  • Specific hyperthermophiles 4
    • Archaebacteria 4.1
    • Gram-negative eubacteria 4.2
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7


Hyperthermophiles were first discovered by Thomas D. Brock in 1965, in hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.[1][2] Since then, more than 70 species have been discovered.[3] The most hardy hyperthermophiles yet discovered live on the superheated walls of deep-sea hydrothermal vents, requiring temperatures of at least 90 °C for survival. An extraordinary heat-tolerant hyperthermophile is the recently discovered Strain 121[4] which has been able to double its population during 24 hours in an autoclave at 121 °C (hence its name); the current record growth temperature is 122 °C, for Methanopyrus kandleri.

Although no hyperthermophile has yet been discovered living at temperatures above 122 °C, their existence is very possible (Strain 121 survived being heated to 130 °C for two hours, but was not able to reproduce until it had been transferred into a fresh growth medium, at a relatively cooler 103 °C). However, it is thought unlikely that microbes could survive at temperatures above 150 °C, as the cohesion of DNA and other vital molecules begins to break down at this point.


Early research into hyperthermophiles speculated that their [5][6]

The denatured above 60 °C. Such hyperthermostable proteins are often commercially important, as chemical reactions proceed faster at high temperatures.[7][8]

Cell structure

The cell membrane contains high levels of saturated fatty acids to retain its shape at high temperatures.

Specific hyperthermophiles


Gram-negative eubacteria

See also


  1. ^ Joseph Seckbach, et al.: Polyextremophiles - life under multiple forms of stress. Springer, Dordrecht 2013, ISBN 978-94-007-6487-3,preface; @google books
  2. ^ and Other Extreme ThermophilesThermus aquaticusThe Value of Basic Research: Discovery of
  3. ^ Hyperthermophilic Microorganisms
  4. ^ Microbe from depths takes life to hottest known limit
  5. ^ High guanine-cytosine content is not an adaptation to high temperature: a comparative analysis amongst prokaryotes
  6. ^ Zheng H, Wu H; Wu (December 2010). "Gene-centric association analysis for the correlation between the guanine-cytosine content levels and temperature range conditions of prokaryotic species". BMC Bioinformatics 11: S7.  
  7. ^ "Analysis of Nanoarchaeum equitans genome and proteome composition: indications for hyperthermophilic and parasitic adaptation."
  8. ^ Saiki, R. K.; Gelfand, D. H.; Stoffel, S; Scharf, S. J.; Higuchi, R; Horn, G. T.; Mullis, K. B.; Erlich, H. A. (1988). "Primer-directed enzymatic amplification of DNA with a thermostable DNA polymerase". Science 239 (4839): 487–91.  

Further reading

Stetter, Karl (Feb 2013). "A brief history of the discovery of hyperthermophilic life". Biochemical Society Transactions 41 (1): 416–420.  

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