© 2008

Psychrophiles: from Biodiversity to Biotechnology

  • Rosa Margesin
  • Franz Schinner
  • Jean-Claude Marx
  • Charles Gerday

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Boundary Conditions for Microbial Life at Low Temperatures

  3. Microbial Diversity in Cold Ecosystems

    1. Vanya Miteva
      Pages 31-50
    2. Brent C. Christner, Mark L. Skidmore, John C. Priscu, Martyn Tranter, Christine M. Foreman
      Pages 51-71
    3. David Gilichinsky, Tatiana Vishnivetskaya, Mayya Petrova, Elena Spirina, Vladimir Mamykin, Elizaveta Rivkina
      Pages 83-102
    4. Frédéric Zakhia, Anne-Dorothee Jungblut, Arnaud Taton, Warwick F. Vincent, Annick Wilmotte
      Pages 121-135
    5. Jens C. Frisvad
      Pages 137-156
    6. Llyd E. Wells
      Pages 157-173
  4. Molecular Adaptations to Cold Habitats

    1. Nicholas J. Russell
      Pages 177-190
    2. Sangita Phadtare, Masayori Inouye
      Pages 191-209
    3. Tony Collins, Frédéric Roulling, Florence Piette, Jean-Claude Marx, Georges Feller, Charles Gerday et al.
      Pages 211-227
    4. Hidehisa Kawahara
      Pages 229-246
    5. Christopher Krembs, Jody W. Deming
      Pages 247-264
    6. John P. Bowman
      Pages 265-284
    7. Sara Sjöling, Don A. Cowan
      Pages 313-332
    8. Tatsuo Kurihara, Nobuyoshi Esaki
      Pages 333-344

About this book


Most scientists in the middle of the twentieth century would probably not have believed that life was possible at extreme values of environmental factors, such as pH values close to 0 (e. g. sulfurous environments) or to 14 (e. g. soda lakes), sali- ties of 6 M NaCl (e. g. Dead Sea), hydrostatic pressures approaching 0. 1 MPa (deep sea) and temperatures exceeding 100°C (thermal vents or hot springs) or as low as –20°C (e. g. polar regions). Of the current studies on extremophiles, approximately 30,000 articles by the year 2007, almost two-thirds have been performed on org- isms adapted to outstanding temperatures, but much more attention has been paid to thermophiles than to psychrophiles. However, over the past 10 years, scientific publications on cold-adapted microorganisms have increased by a factor of ten. If one considers the extent of cold habitats, psychrophiles, i. e. cold-loving organisms, should largely lead in this comparison with thermophiles because a great proportion of the Earth’s biosphere never reaches temperatures above 5°C. Nearly three-quarters of the Earth is covered by oceans whose deep water masses, irrespective of latitude, are constantly between 2 and 4°C. The large continent of Antarctica also provides a permanently cold terrestrial environment as well as an aquatic niche in the surrounding ice that melts during the summer. Other examples of cold habitats are permafrost soils, high alpine soils, cold deserts, cold caves, marine sediments, snow, glacier and sea ice.


biodiversity biosphere ecosystem ecosystems environment microorganism microorganisms

Editors and affiliations

  • Rosa Margesin
    • 1
  • Franz Schinner
    • 1
  • Jean-Claude Marx
    • 2
  • Charles Gerday
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of MicrobiologyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Laboratory of BiochemistryUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium

Bibliographic information

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From the reviews:

"The new book Psychrophiles – from Biodiversity to Biotechnology … focusses on psychrophiles and describes, with cutting-edge knowledge, representative groups of cold-adapted micro-organisms as well as the habitats in which they live and the strategies they employ to cope with the cold. … This excellent book, which covers almost all fields of ‘cold’ microbiological research, matches current demands and trends in applied biotechnology. Furthermore, it is a valuable source of information to all those scientists interested in knowing what’s going on in the lab’s -80ºC freezer." (Ralph Schill, Lab Times, Issue 4, 2008)