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Environ Microbiol. 2003 Apr;5(4):321-6.

Reproduction and metabolism at - 10 degrees C of bacteria isolated from Siberian permafrost.

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Department of Earth Sciences, University of Southern California, 3651 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740, USA.


We report the isolation and properties of several species of bacteria from Siberian permafrost. Half of the isolates were spore-forming bacteria unable to grow or metabolize at subzero temperatures. Other Gram-positive isolates metabolized, but never exhibited any growth at - 10 degrees C. One Gram-negative isolate metabolized and grew at - 10 degrees C, with a measured doubling time of 39 days. Metabolic studies of several isolates suggested that as temperature decreased below + 4 degrees C, the partitioning of energy changes with much more energy being used for cell maintenance as the temperature decreases. In addition, cells grown at - 10 degrees C exhibited major morphological changes at the ultrastructural level.

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