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A xerophile (from Greek xēros, meaning "dry", and philos loving)[1] is an extremophilic organism that can grow and reproduce in conditions with a low availability of water, also known as water activity. Water activity (aw) is a measure of the amount of water within a substrate an organism can use to support sexual growth. Xerophiles are often said to be "xerotolerant", meaning tolerant of dry conditions. They can survive in environments with water activity below 0.8. Endoliths and halophiles are often xerotolerant.

The common food preservation method of reducing water activities may not prevent the growth of xerophilic organisms, often resulting in food spoilage. Many mold and yeast species are xerophilic. Mold growth on bread is an example of food spoilage by xerophilic organisms.

Examples of xerophiles include Trichosporonoides nigrescens[2] and cacti.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "xero-". The New Oxford American Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, Inc. 2005. 
  2. ^ Hocking AD; Pitt JI. (December 1981). "Trichosporonoides nigrescens sp. nov., a new xerophilic yeast-like fungus". Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 47 (5): 411–21. doi:10.1007/BF00426003. PMID 7198892.