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Microbial Ecology: Caves as an Extreme Habitat

Tecnologias Alimentares e Saúde

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Referência

Riquelme Gabriel, C and Northup DE (2013) Microbial Ecology: Caves as an Extreme Habitat. In Cave Microbiomes: A Novel Resource for Drug Discovery. SpringerBriefs in Microbiology, 2013, Volume 1, 85-108, DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-5206-5_5

Resumo

When you enter a cave, as a human, you are immediately struck by what an
alien environment you have entered, as the light fades, and cool, moist air
surrounds you. Using artificial light to illuminate your journey through this rockdominated
environment, you may think that nothing lives here, but biologists
and microbiologists have been discovering a wealth of life in these rock
chambers beneath the Earth’s surface. And, now, a new revolution is taking
place in how we view caves—scientists are discovering that these environments
are home to organisms that produce secondary metabolites that may be useful
to humans. But, what shapes this production and the microorganisms that
produce these compounds? That is the focus of this chapter. We’ll start with
some background on caves in general, move to the abiotic factors that
characterize caves, provide selective pressures for microbial evolution, and
then review what energy sources fuel microbial growth and existence in caves,
look at why caves make such ideal laboratories, and end with the significance of
studying microbial life in caves, including secondary metabolite production,
geomicrobiology, and relevance to life detection on extraterrestrial bodies.

Tera, 01 Janeiro, 2013

Equipa

Cristina Riquelme Gabriel
Investigador Colaborador (Outros)

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