The frequency and characteristics of highly thermophilic bacteria in cool soil environments

R Marchant, Ibrahim Banat, TJ Rahman, M Berzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Following enrichment at 70degreesC and 80degreesC, five highly thermophilic aerobic eubacteria have been isolated from cool soil environments. These organisms show a temperature range for growth of 40-80degreesC and have optimal and very high growth rates around 70degreesC with generation times less than 30 min. All isolates are narrow rods, which stain Gram-negative, but have a Gram-positive cell wall structure and only one of five isolates is a spore former. All cultures contain a small proportion of previously unreported extremely long flexuous rods, which can be seen to divide eventually. Biochemical testing of five strains reveals a significant ability to utilize alkanes and some aromatic hydrocarbons. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of 16S rDNA the five strains were differentiated into three categories, which paralleled the biochemical results. 16S rDNA sequences showed high similarity with thermophilic Bacillus species now reclassified as Geobacillus . These bacteria are present in high numbers in apparently all soils and the question is raised of how these organisms, which are apparently unable to grow at the temperatures experienced in these cool soils, are so prominent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-602
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Oct 2002


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