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Cold-loving Bacteria from Antarctic and Arctic: Occurrence, Survival and Usefulness

Introduction Psychrophilic (cold-loving) bacteria are extremophiles that define the lower limits of temperature for the survival of life forms. They survive and multiply at temperatures as low as -20oC and rarely survive above 30oC. Such bacteria are predominant in habitats that are permanently cold, such as Antarctic, Arctic, glaciers, deep sea etc. Psychrophiles play a key role in the cold habitats by facilitating nutrient recycling and producing bioactive molecules, biopharmaceuticals and extremozymes. Psychrophiles could thus serve as potential workhorses in biotechnology and this has led to extensive research on these psychrophilic microorganisms from Antarctic, Arctic and the Himalayan Glaciers so as to be able to establish their identity, to exploit their untapped natural resource and also to understand their molecular basis of survival and multiplication at low temperatures. As a part of the Indian Antarctic and Arctic research programmes research on psychrophiles at the CCMB, Hyderabad, has essentially centred around the following aspects: Biodiversity of bacteria from Antarctic and the Arctic. Biotechnological potential of bacteria from Antarctic and the Arctic. Molecular basis of the survival of cold loving bacteria.     Bacterial Biodiversity of Antarctic Microbial diversity of Antarctic using the culturable approach Erik Ekelöf (1908), the father of Antarctic microbiology was the first to demonstrate the presence of bacteria, yeasts and fungi in the soil and air at Snow Hill Island, Antarctic Peninsula. During...

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