Thermophiles are a very peculiar type of organism. In fact, they are rare and have always aroused the curiosity of the scientific community . These are organisms with the unique ability to withstand high temperatures, with thermal degrees that are not tolerable by most living beings. In this sense, they have certain very unique conditions, all of them being microscopic organisms.
On this subject, we give some examples below so that our readers can clear any doubts they may have about it. It happens that this type of microorganisms has certain implications from the point of view of health , which are necessary to clear. On the other hand, they are also used in certain industries such as plastic or in the production of food and beverages such as beer.
Let’s define exactly what thermophiles are. With this name is usually pointed to organisms that can live at high temperatures . In general, it is usually taken as a point of reference those living beings capable of surviving without problems above 45 degrees Celsius. It is worth mentioning that some of these living beings even live in environments as extreme as 75 degrees Celsius and even more than 100 degrees.
It happens that living beings that withstand very high temperatures are part of a biological category called extremophiles . The latter are subdivided as follows:
- xerophite: they are the organisms that can live with very little amount of water, being also called xerophite (this appellative usually is in Botany). They are the ones found in the deserts. There are several bacteria that fit this classification. Also, there are plants that endure long and intense droughts, being located in this category.
- Acidophiles or acidophilic : here they are placed alive beings that manage to survive in sites of great acidity, being an example in this respect the organisms of eukaryotic type. They are rare, although used in various industries as they manage to eliminate other bacteria and prevent their spread.
- Barophiles: they are living beings that live and thrive in places of very high pressure. This type of organisms are those that inhabit the deepest pits of the oceans, as for example the Marianas in the Pacific Ocean. It must be said that these types of living beings manage to withstand very strong pressures, which is why they are very resistant.
- Halophiles: are the organisms that live in environments of enormous salinity. Some examples are the bacteria that develop in the Dead Sea, as well as some crops obtained in salt production sites. They also tend to withstand long periods without the need for water. Sometimes, they combine with the room to eliminate harmful bacteria.
- Oligotrophs: is a very generic name, used both in biology and in botany. It refers to beings that manage to live with very little amount of food. They are small in size, they can also survive in the absence of oxygen.
- Cryptoendoliths: they are the organisms that live to enormous depths in the Earth. Some cases have been found at 2,700 meters depth, even between rocks and high temperatures. Also, they do not usually require a large amount of food.
- Psychrophiles: is the name given to living beings that develop at very low temperatures, which survive the most hostile winters or in places such as the north and south poles. There are registered cases of bacteria that survive at about -30 ° without major inconveniences, this being the type of environment in which they inhabit recurrently.Finally, we want to indicate that thermophiles are just the opposite of Psychrophiles . The living beings that endure extreme and high temperatures in turn are subdivided into two categories. These are the ones we indicate below:
- The simple thermophiles: this category includes living beings with the capacity to live in thermal ranges that range between 45 and 75 degrees Celsius.
- Hyperthermophilic: are living beings living in environments that exceed 75 degrees Celsius. There have been cases of bacteria that live up to 120 degrees. These are usually found in nature in places like geysers and volcanoes.
With all this information, and our readers have an idea about this topic. However, we want to give you more data. Therefore, we invite you to read the paragraphs below. In these segments of the present text, we are going to talk about thermophilic bacteria in foods. Also, the case of the so-called thermophilic forests .
Thermophilic bacteria in food
The issue of bacteria with high resistance to temperatures in food is usually delicate. This is because they can support the cooking processes, making it clear that they can survive and then be consumed along with the food. Therefore, if they are harmful to health, they require more resistant health mechanisms .
How is it that this type of microorganisms manages to survive the high temperatures? This happens because such bacteria have a molecular structure made up of a chain of lipids . This characteristic gives them a gigantic advantage: it manages to generate enzymes that are stable at the highest temperatures . Without a doubt, they are truly prodigious living beings. However, we must say that they are always small in size.
To the above, it is added that thermophilic bacteria do not usually withstand high temperatures at all stages of their life. For example, it is common that when they reach adulthood they are weak to heat. However, when they are in the phase of spores or eggs if they manage to withstand the heat.
An important case of the aforementioned is that of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum . This is usually easily removed at temperatures around 100 degrees Celsius. However, it happens that their spores survive easily for 30 minutes at 100 °. Therefore, after a food is subjected to high temperatures, it happens that the appearance of this bacterium can later develop. For this case, the ideal is to subject the food to 125 degrees centigrade for at least 10 minutes. Only in this way spores are eliminated.
Another case to consider is the bacteria that survive in ranges between 20 and 50 degrees Celsius. When such bacteria are of the proteolytic type (which cause putrefaction) then it usually causes alterations in carbonated beverages or generate unpleasant odors in food. On the other hand, if the bacteria are saccharolytic type that generate changes in the taste of food. Among the latter, there are several that affect the ham.
For all the above, it is necessary to treat them with effective methods of sanitary control. However, it must be said that many of these bacteria are also commonly used in food production . For example, in the case of fermented foods, the properties of such organisms are often used, especially in the case of the brewing industry.
Let’s now turn to the so-called thermophilic forests. It is a type of plant conformation very common in the Canary Islands. It grows in a Mediterranean-type environment, which has an annual rainfall level between 250 and up to 450 mm . It supports high temperatures thanks to its location and how it generates shadows.
It is considered that this type of forest is actually a plant community. It is usually classified or denominated according to the type of plant organism that predominates. In this regard, we have the following cases:
- The cebuchales , called by the remarkable presence of the acebuche ( Olea cerasiformis ).
- The almacigares , which are named after the presence of the seedling ( Pistacia atlantica ).
- The dragonales , baptized in this way thanks to the presence of two plants: Dracaena draco and Dracaena tamaranae.
- The lentiscal As the name implies, they have a preponderance of mastic. This plant has a scientific name: Pistacia lentiscus .
- The palms , this being a thermophilic forest variety where the plant known as Canarian palm ( Phoenix canariensis ) predominates .
- The retamares , where there is a large amount of white broom ( Retama rhodorhizoides ).
- Finally, there is the case of the junipers where the plant called juniper (Juniperus canariensis) predominates remarkably.
Where are these forests located? We have already said that they are typical of the Canary Islands . However, if we talk about its specific distribution we must say that it is the following:
- On the island of Hierra , with several junipers.
- In the region of La Gomera .
- The island of Palma has a large number of junipers.
- In Tenerife there is also quite a lot of junipers.
- On the other hand, it happens that Gran Canaria holds a combination of acebuchales and lentiscales.
- In Fuerteventura what predominates are the palm groves.
- In the Island of Lanzarote, it has some sectors where there are olive groves and palm groves.
As you can see, it is not a uniform forest, it is scattered on an archipelago surface. It is worth saying that, due to the activity of human beings, these forests tend to disappear.