How animals in the hydrothermal vent can live with the high temperature.

Jonathan Silverlight jsilver at
Fri Mar 29 17:34:17 EST 2002

In message <3ca6328b.30094403 at>, Davin C. Enigl 
<enigl at> writes
>On Wed, 27 Mar 2002 22:23:53 +0000, Jonathan Silverlight
><jsilver at> wrote:
>>I'm fairly sure you can't simply "correct" in that way. Heat proteins to
>>400C and they will melt, or at least denature, whatever the pressure.
>That is not high enough to denature prions.

I think you will find that there is no detectable protein at a much 
lower temperature. AFAIK the only study of the actual protein content is 
by Appel et al. and they only went up to about 200C.

>As far as pressure, my experiments showed not even a one log reduction
>(and no calculable D-value) up to 65,000 psi in liquid as long as the
>pressure did not drop suddenly.  So survival at a constant 65,000 psi
>was no problem for my test bacteria.
>Does anyone know what the psi is at the deep sea vents?  How does the
>pressure there, compare to 65,000 psi?

Well, IIRC the pressure increases by 1 atmosphere for every 33 feet (I'm 
too old to think metric right now :-) so it's about 1000 atmospheres 
(14000 psi) at the bottom of the deepest trench.
Are you the guy who published that study of bacteria surviving in a 
diamond anvil? It was quite widely reported here and the reports were 
saying the pressure was equivalent to many kilometres depth of the 
Earth's crust - or Europan ice. Amazing.

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