In details


Sulfolobus sp .: example of archaebacterium

What they are (biological definition)

Archaebacteria are prokaryotic beings belonging to the Archaea group. They are primitive bacteria, and there are only about twenty species.

Main features

- Possess the ability to live in places where living conditions are extremely adverse for the vast majority of living beings. They live in places with high salt, extremely acidic, very low humidity, no oxygen, very high or very low temperatures.

- They have a cell wall composed of proteins, glycoproteins and polysaccharides.

- They are 0.1 micrometers (μm) up to 15 micrometers in diameter, so they are visible only with the use of powerful microscopes.

Archaeobacterial Types:

Methanogenic Bacteria

They are anaerobic archaebacteria (living in the absence of oxygen) that have the ability to make methane gas. They usually live in deep ocean regions, in swamp areas and also in the digestive system of ruminant animals (they act on cellulose digestion).

Extreme Halophilic Bacteria

These bacteria inhabit aquatic areas with high salt concentration. They are present in the Dead Sea and also in salinas (lagoons formed by seawater for the production of cooking salt).

Extreme Thermophilic Bacteria

They are bacteria that inhabit waters with very high temperatures (between 70º and 150ºC), such as volcanic cracks. They are chemosynthetic organisms, because they get energy through the oxidation of sulfur.

Examples of archaebacteria:

- Nanoarchaeum equitans

- Halobacteria sp.

- Sulfolobus sp.

Biological Curiosities:

Methanogenic bacteria are of great importance in the production of methane gas used as fuel. They are responsible for the production of this gas in the organic waste treatment plants. Methane gas, present in nature reserves, was also produced with the action of these bacteria, but thousands of years ago.