Thermophiles in the Urban Environment

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Abstract Summary

Bacteria are small single-cell, prokaryotic microorganisms. They are normally a few micrometers in length and usually grow together in millions as colonies. Bacteria can vary in shape: spherical (cocci), rod shaped (bacilli), and spiral (spirilla). One of the major factors that can affect bacterial growth is temperature. Bacteria can be found in areas where the temperature is extreme or where there is a high concentration of toxic chemicals. These bacteria are known as extremophiles. In this study, the extremophiles observed are thermophiles. Thermophiles are organisms that flourish at comparatively high temperatures between 41°C and 122°C . The objective of this research is to sample and identify bacteria in urban areas that could potentially grow above 37°C, specifically bacteria that grow between the mesophilic (moderate temperature) and thermophilic (high temperature) range. Samples were collected from warm areas in different flats of an apartment. These samples include an oven, microwave, stove, vent, kettle, toaster etc. A sample was also collected from the Kelvin River in Glasgow, Scotland. This particular study yielded far-reaching correlations in bacteria which thrive in extreme temperatures and urban settings that can ultimately appear in homes and in the lives of humans.

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