How Viable are Microbes Under Harsh Conditions
HOW VIABLE ARE MICROBES UNDER HARSH CONDITIONS?
In addition to an astounding range of ecological adaptations, many microbial species have been shown to survive in a state of stasis under inclement conditions for prolonged periods of time. In even the driest deserts on Earth, some species survive by living inside porous rocks where they find a safe haven from ultraviolet radiation, springing to life only occasionally, when water needed for growth becomes available. An even more interesting example is bacteria that have been germinated from spores preserved in Dominican amber dated at more than 30 million years old. Given this propensity for prolonged survival, the potential for microorganisms to survive under extreme conditions, for example on Mars, has been greatly enhanced.