Geomicrobiology !

By definition: the specialized study of microbiology in geologic environments. Or in our case microbiology in the environments featured in this site, hot springs and caves.

For many years these environments were overlooked in the study of microbiology. Now they're known to contain "extremeophiles" of various kinds. Many were previously unknown. Some of these have led to advances in biotechnology. Others may hold promise for treatment of diseases such as cancer.

The study of caves and cave filling materials has been forever changed by the recognition of bacterially generated mineral deposits. One example is the iron sediment forming Leptothrix bacteria pictured at right, responsible for iron deposits in Cave of the Winds

Photograph courtesty of Dr. Fred Luiszer

Modern biotechnology extensively uses a technique called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to generate quantities of material for analysis. PCR is based on work down with extremeophile bacteria in Yellowstone National Park hot Springs.
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Copyright (c) 2001-04 by R. Mark Maslyn
Last Updated Sept. 19, 2004