Colonization of Black Smokers by Hyperthermophilic Microorganisms

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Newly erupted black smokers (hydrothermal vent chimneys) are sterile during their formation, but they house hyperthermophiles in substantial amounts in later stages. No hard data exist on the mechanisms by which hyperthermophiles colonize newly erupted black smokers. Here I propose a scenario – based on various experimental data – for how hyperthermophiles colonize black smokers. Hyperthermophiles which are present in cold sea water in minute amounts are transferred by chance to the outside of black smokers and react within seconds to the high temperature by very fast movements. After reaching an optimal temperature region they scan the surface via a zigzag seek-movement and adhere via their flagella at a suitable place, building up biofilms.




Wirth, R. (2017, February 1). Colonization of Black Smokers by Hyperthermophilic Microorganisms. Trends in Microbiology. Elsevier Ltd.

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