Can thermophiles generate energy directly from heat?

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Offline CliffordK

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I was just thinking about energy.

How do thermophiles around deep sea vents obtain their energy?

Do they obtain energy directly from heat?  Or a temperature gradient (that would be noticeable to a bacterium).

Or, is the energy just derived from chemicals and minerals that are also associated with the deep sea vents?


Offline Nizzle

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Re: Can thermophiles generate energy directly from heat?
« Reply #1 on: 02/02/2012 08:30:01 »
Thermophiles usually have a sulphur based energy metabolism where they reduce sulphuroxide components, so chemicals and minerals that are associated with deep sea vents.
The term "thermophile" means that their optimal metabolic activity rate, which is about 37 deg C in humans, is in the high temp ranges (50-80 deg C for thermophiles and 80-96 deg C for hyperthermophiles).
An example thereof is the DNA copying protein (polymerase) in these organisms, which is now a crucial ingredient in PCR reactions in the lab to quickly multiply DNA by cycles of heating and cooling, where the actual DNA copying occurs at the high temp part of the cycle thorugh polymerases of Thermophilic organisms.
« Last Edit: 02/02/2012 08:33:07 by Nizzle »
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