Aquifex pyrophilus

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Aquificeae
Scientific classification
Domain: Bacteria
Phylum: Aquificae
Class: Aquificae
Order: Aquificales
Family: Aquificaceae
Genus: Aquifex
Species: A. pyrophilus
Binomial name
Aquifex pyrophilus
Huber and Stetter, 1992

Aquifex pyrophilus is a rod-shaped bacterium with a length of 2 to 6 micrometers and a diameter of around half a micrometer. It is one of a handful of species in the Aquificae phylum, an unusual group of thermophilic bacteria that are thought to be some of the oldest species in the bacteria domain.

A. pyrophilus grows best in water between 85 to 95 °C, and can be found near underwater volcanoes or hot springs. It typically uses oxygen in its respiration, producing water as a byproduct, thus leading to the name "Aquifex," meaning "water-maker." However A. pyrophilus can even grow anaerobically by reducing nitrogen instead of oxygen. Members of the species tend to form large cell congloberations, comprising up to 100 individual cells. It was discovered just north of Iceland.

The genome of Aquifex aeolicus, a member of the same genus, has been successfully mapped. Comparison of this genome to other organisms showed that around 16% of its genes originated from the Archaea domain. It is assumed that A. pyrophilus also has this property.

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