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《Earth Science Frontiers》 2006-06
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The occurrence and biogeochemistry of microbes in extreme environments

CHEN Jun~ 1 , LIAN Bin~ 1,2 , WANG Bin~ 2 , H. H. TENG~ 3 1.Institute of Surficial Geochemistry, Department of Earth Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China 2.State Key Laboratory of Environmental Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences,Guiyang 550002, China 3.Department of Chemistry, the George Washington University, Washington DC, 20052, USA  
Extremophiles are an important component of Earth's biosphere and constitute a valuable biological resource. The biogeochemistry of extremophiles, an inter-and multidisciplinary subject stemming from microbiology and geochemistry, has in the last decade become the focus of geobiological research. Understanding extremophiles not only helps to shed light on important scientific questions, but also has profound impact on the study of earth system science. A breakthrough in extremophile studies may be able to unlock a number of mysteries such as the origin of life, the tolerance of life to environmental changes, and even the possibility for the existence of extraterrestrial life. From the Earth system point of view, knowledge in extremophiles can provide important insights into the pathway of biosphere-lithosphere co-evolution as well as the chemical evolution of the Earth. This paper summarizes the major groups of the known thermophiles (psychophiles, acidophiles, alkaliphiles, barophiles, halophiles and anti-radiate microbes), reviews the mechanisms of extremophiles adapting to environmental conditions, and discusses the biogeochemical significance of extremophiles. The authors anticipate that future advance in biomarker study, isotope geochemistry, and molecular biology will facilitate and improve our knowledge basis in the biogeochemistry of extremophiles.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金重点项目(40331001)
【CateGory Index】: Q938
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