Polar Microbiology: The Ecology, Biodiversity and Bioremediation Potential of Microorganisms in Extremely Cold Environments

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ISBN 9781420083842
Cat# 83848



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Cat# E83848



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  • Examines the potential for microbial biodegradation in cold and subzero environments
  • Provides a complete overview of the physiology, genetics, community structures, and ecology of cold adapted biodegradative microbial extremophiles
  • Reviews the function of biodegradative enzymes and their genes in cold temperatures


Pollution has accompanied polar exploration since Captain John Davis’ arrival on the Antarctic continent in 1821 and has become an unavoidable consequence of oil spills in our polar regions. Fortunately, many of the organisms indigenous to Polar ecosystems have the ability to degrade pollutants. It is this metabolic capacity that forms the basis for bioremediation as a potential treatment for the hydrocarbons that contaminate the pristine polar environments.

The only book to cover the breadth of microbial ecology and diversity in polar regions with an emphasis on bioremediation, Polar Microbiology: The Ecology, Biodiversity, and Bioremediation Potential of Microorganisms in Extremely Cold Environments examines the diversity of polar microorganisms and their ability to degrade petroleum hydrocarbon contaminants in polar terrestrial and aquatic environments. Providing a unique perspective of these microorganisms in extremely cold temperatures, the book focuses on their taxonomy, physiology, biochemistry, population structure, bioremediation potential, and potential for biotechnology applications. Leading investigators in the field provide complete coverage of the microbiology relevant to the study of biodiversity and biodegradation of pollutants in the Arctic and Antarctic, including:

  • Microbial extremophiles living in cold and subzero temperature environments
  • Genetics and physiology of cold adaptation of microorganisms
  • Biodegradative microbial consortia in a defined closed environment
  • Molecular characterization of biodegradative microbial populations
  • Molecular approaches to assess biodegradation of petroleum hydrocarbons
  • Environmental impact of hydrocarbon contamination
  • Microbial biodiversity across Antarctic deserts

By bringing together the current state of scientific knowledge and research on microbial community structures in extremely cold temperatures, this thought provoking resource is the ideal starting point for the research that must be done if we are to effectively reduce human’s eco-footprint on our polar regions.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1: Microbiology of Antarctic Terrestrial Soils and Rocks; Donald A. Cowan, Nuraan Khan, Caroline Heath, and Moola Mutondo

Chapter 2: Archaeal Diversity in Antarctic Ecosystems; Jackie Aislabie and John Bowman

Chapter 3: Bacterial Biodiversity of Antarctica: Conventional Polyphasic and rRNA Approaches; Sisinthy Shivaji and G. S. N. Reddy

Chapter 4: L.I.F.E. in Antarctic Lakes; Birgit Sattler and Michael C. Storrie-Lombardi

Chapter 5: Psychrophilic and Psychrotolerant Microbial Extremophiles in Polar Environments; Richard B. Hoover and Elena V. Pikuta

Chapter 6: Cold Adaptation in Antarctic Biodegradative Microorganisms; Asim K. Bej and Nazia Mojib

Chapter 7: Possible Role of Bacteriophage-Mediated Horizontal Gene Transfer on Microbial Adaptation to Environmental Stressors in Polar Ecosystems; Michael C. Storrie-Lombardi and Shannon J. Williamson

Chapter 8: Sources of Organic Matter for the Archean Cryosphere; Perry A. Gerakines and Michael C. Storrie-Lombardi

Chapter 9: Response of Polar Soil Bacterial Communities to Fuel Spills; Jackie Aislabie and Julia M. Foght

Chapter 10: Microbial Degradation of Petroleum Compounds in Cold Marine Water and Ice; Odd G. Brakstad, Andrew M. Booth, and Liv-Guri Faksness

Chapter 11: Potential for Microbial Biodegradation of Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Polar Environments; Angelina Lo Giudice, Vivia Bruni, and Luigi Michaud

Chapter 12: Tolerance of Antarctic Soil Fungi to Hydrocarbons and Their Potential Role in Soil Bioremediation; Kevin A. Hughes and Paul Bridge

Chapter 13: Do Fertilizers Help in Effective Bioremediation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Polar Soils?; Daniel Delille, Emilien Pelletier, and Frédéric Coulon

Chapter 14: Bioremediation of Contaminated Sites in the Canadian Arctic: Monitoring Performance and the Effects of Biostimulation Using Molecular Methods; Charles W. Greer

Chapter 15: Occurrence, Distribution and Nature of Hydrocarbon-Degrading Genes in Biodegradative Microorganisms from the Antarctic Environment; Adriana Philippi Luz, Emanuele Kuhn, and Vivian Helena Pellizari

Chapter 16: Potential Use of Real-Time PCR to Assess Changes in the Microbial Population Structure and Function during Bioremediation of Polar Soils; Shane M. Powell

Chapter 17: Microbial Bioremediation in Polar Environments: Current Status and Future Directions; Ronald M. Atlas


Editorial Reviews

…It is a timely and much needed contribution to the field of polar microbiology … The authors have been drawn from a wide range of experts in the field, and provide clear coverage of the subject from a range of different perspectives. Specific strengths of the book include the range of different micro-organisms considered and habitat types covered (including the aerial environment, ice as an environment for microbial growth and the overall relevance to astrobiology) … this work makes a welcome and significant contribution.

—David Pearce, British Antarctic Survey, Computing Reviews, May 2010