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Acidophile

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Definition

noun, plural: acidophiles

An organism that can or must live in an acidic environment


Supplement

An acidophile is an organism that can or must live in an acidic environment. An acidic environment is one that has a pH below 6. Acidophiles are able to live and thrive to a highly acidic environment, particularly at pH 2.0 or below. Acidophiles are considered as an extremophile.

Some acidophiles are adapted to an acidic environment because of a membrane system that effectively pumps protons out of the intracellular space and consequently helps keep the cytoplasm at or near a neutral pH. Other acidophiles with acidified cytoplasm have proteins that can attain acid stability.

Some of the organisms considered as acidophiles are as follows:

  • Archaeal Richmond Mine acidophilic nanoorganisms, i.e. archaea living in extremely acidic mine in Richmond Mine at Iron Mountain in northern California
  • Acetobacter aceti, i.e. a bacterium capable of producing acetic acid through oxidizing ethanol
  • Acidobacteria, i.e. a phylum of bacteria comprised of bacteria such as Acidobacterium capsulatum, Holophaga foetida, Bryobacter aggregatus
  • Alicyclobacilus spp., i.e. Gram-positive, spore-forming rods that grow in acidic conditions (pH 2.0 – 6.0)
  • Mucor racemosus, i.e. a fungal eukaryote that is known to cause human mucormycosis


Word origin: acido- (acid) + phile (love)

Also called:

  • acidophilic organism

See also: