Microbiology of Extreme Soils

Front Cover
Patrice Dion, Chandra Shekhar Nautiyal
Springer Science & Business Media, Dec 22, 2007 - Science - 369 pages
My auxiliaries are the dews and rains which water this dry soil, and what fertility is in the soil itself, which for the most part is lean and effete. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond The concerns that Thoreau had about his beans were nothing to those that would face a similarly conscientious gardener in the Atacama Desert or on the planet Mars, where dews are rare, or frozen, and rains are extremely rare – or absent al- gether. Yet we live in a time when an appreciation of the differences and simila- ties among soils (or regolith: no organics detected on Mars, as yet!) can provide a perspective on life at its most fundamental level: that of microbiology. Microbes are the Earth’s finest chemists, and most prodigious chemical engineers. Beyond pure chemistry, they know tricks with electrons that would make any Silicon Valley chip designer blush with pride. And yet their size and association with human food (good) and diseases (bad) has for more than a century obscured their essential place in making the Earth a habitable planet for humans. One of the most interesting facets of this book is that we are shown those chemists at work in one of their most important habitats. Soils comprise both a pervasive environment on our planet and one of the most important (even most fruitful!) of habitats with respect to human survival.
 

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Contents

The Microbiological Promises of Extreme Soils
3
Microbial Diversity Life Strategies and Adaptation to Life in Extreme Soils
15
Extreme Views on Prokaryote Evolution
44
Biodiversity Extracting Lessons from Extreme Soils
71
Halophilic and Halotolerant MicroOrganisms from Soils
87
Atacama Desert Soil Microbiology
116
Microbial Communities and Processes in Arctic Permafrost Environments
133
Aerobic EndosporeForming Bacteria from Antarctic Geothermal Soils
155
Subsurface Geomicrobiology of the Iberian Pyritic Belt
204
The Potential for Extant Life in the Soils of Mars
225
Bacteriology of Extremely Cold Soils Exposed to Hydrocarbon Pollution
247
Microbiology of OilContaminated Desert Soils and Coastal Areas in the Arabian Gulf Region
275
Microbial Communities in FireAffected Soils
299
Endophytes and Rhizosphere Bacteria of Plants Growing in Heavy MetalContaining Soils
317
Interactions of Fungi and Radionuclides in Soil
333
Index
357

Peatland Microbiology
177

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Page v - My auxiliaries are the dews and rains which water this dry soil, and what fertility is in the soil itself, which for the most part is lean and effete. My enemies are worms, cool days, and most of all woodchucks. The last have nibbled for me a quarter of an acre clean. But what right had I to oust johnswort and the rest, and break up their ancient...