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Spirochaeta americana Scientific classification Domain: Bacteria Phylum: Spirochetes Class: Spirochetes Order: Spirochaetales Family: Spirochaeta Genus: Spirochaeta Species: S. americana Binomial name Spirochaeta americana Hoover, Pikuta and Bej 2003 Spirochaeta americana is a relatively newly-discovered[1] single-celled extremophile. This haloalkaliphilic and obligately anaerobic bacteria can be found in the bleach-like highly alkaline, salty, deep waters of California's Mono Lake.[1][2] Contents 1 Physical characteristics 2 Environment 3 Reproduction 4 Growth and Metabolism 5 References 6 External links Physical characteristics Like all Spirochaeta, S. americana has long helically-coiled cells, is gram-negative, and is chemotrophic in its metabolism. Spirochaeta also have unique flagella, sometimes called axial filaments, which run lengthwise between the cell membrane and outer membrane. These cause a twisting motion which allows the spirochaete to move about. Despite the extreme environment that they require, "their cell walls are very delicate, and it is difficult to keep them alive for long periods in the laboratory," says Dr. Elena Pikuta, one of the discoverers of S. americana. Environment Mono Lake, showing tufa (calcium deposits). S. americana thrives in the lake-bottom mud of Lake Mono, a 13 mile wide former monomictic volcanic basin which is fed by numerous small Sierra streams and which has no outflow except evaporation and Californian aqueducts, thereby continually increasing the concentration of salts and other minerals in its waters. Further mineral enrichment of these waters also occur due to the volcanically active area, such as when Negit Island erupted roughly 250 years ago.[3] Surviving in deep, salty, alkaline lake mud of Lake Mono, the extreme conditions in which S. americana thrive have prompted its discoverers to explore Antarctica's Lake Untersee, hopefully to discover similar species.[4][5] Reproduction Diagram of bacterial binary fission. S. americana reproduces via transverse binary fission, where the cytoplasm divides transversely between two sets of nuclei, forming two dissimilar individuals, as do other Spirochaeta.[6] Growth and Metabolism This bacteria grows in environments of 10 to 44 degrees Celsius with optimal growth at 37 degrees and prefers a pH balance of 9.5, similar to that of baking soda, hand soap, or a solution of household bleach in water.[7] S. americana is capable of metabolizing D-glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose, starch and D-mannitol and has as its waste H2, acetate, ethanol and formate.[1] References ^ a b c Hoover, Richard B.; et al. (2003). "Spirochaeta americana sp. nov., a new haloalkaliphilic, obligately anaerobic spirochaete isolated from soda Mono Lake in California". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 53 (Pt 3): 815–821. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.02535-0. PMID 12807206.  ^ "A New Form of Life". Science@Nasa. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/30jul_monolake.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-10.  ^ "America's Volcanic Past, Long Valley Vicinity, California". Cascades Volcano Observatory. http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/LivingWith/VolcanicPast/Places/volcanic_past_long_valley.html. Retrieved 2008-02-21.  ^ "Extremophile Hunt Begins". Science@Nasa Feature. http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/07feb_cloroxlake.htm?list970856. Retrieved 2008-02-10.  ^ "Geomorphic Studies and Hazard Evaluation of Negit Island and Mammoth Mountain, Long Valley Caldera, California". University at Buffalo - Volcano Studies Group. http://www.volcano.buffalo.edu:9090/VolcanoGroup/1131395721/index_html. Retrieved 2008-02-21.  ^ "Bacterial cell division and the septal ring". Molecular Microbiology - MicroReview (2004). http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/links/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2958.2004.04283.x/pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-21. [dead link] ^ "The Measurement of pH - Definition, Standards and Procedures". Report of the Working Party on pH, IUPAC Provisional Recommendation. http://www.iupac.org/reports/provisional/abstract01/rondinini_prs.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-21.  External links Science a gogo - New Species Of Organism Excites Astrobiologists Space.com - New Life Form Found in Mars-Like Conditions v · d · eExtremophiles Types Acidophile · Alkaliphile · Capnophile · Cryozoa · Endolith · Halophile · Hypolith · Lipophile · Lithoautotroph · Lithophile · Methanogen · Metallotolerant · Oligotroph · Osmophile · Piezophile · Polyextremophile · Psychrophile · Radioresistant · Thermophile/Hyperthermophile · Thermoacidophile · Xerophile Notable extremophiles Bacteria Chloroflexus aurantiacus · Deinococcus radiodurans · Deinococcus-Thermus · Snottite · Thermus aquaticus · Thermus thermophilus · Spirochaeta americana · GFAJ-1 Archaea Pyrococcus furiosus · Strain 121 · Pyrolobus fumarii Animalia Paralvinella sulfincola · Halicephalobus mephisto · Pompeii worm · Tardigrada Related articles Abiogenic petroleum origin · Acidithiobacillales · Acidobacteria · Acidophiles in acid mine drainage · Archaeoglobaceae · Berkeley Pit · Blood Falls · Crenarchaeota · Grylloblattidae · Halobacteria · Halobacterium · Helaeomyia petrolei · Hydrothermal vent · Methanopyrus · Movile Cave · Radiotrophic fungus · Rio Tinto · Taq polymerase · Thermostability · Thermotogae