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Activities of microorganisms and enzymes in water-restricted environments: biological activities in aqueous compartments at micron scale
Author(s): Michael Hoppert; Klaus Mlejnek; Beatrix Seiffert; Frank Mayer
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Paper Abstract

In water-in-oil microemulsions, microdroplets of water, surrounded by a layer of surfactant molecules (reversed micelles), are dispersed in an organic solvent. Various microorganisms (unicellular algae and cyanobacteria) and isolated enzymes were dispersed in microemulsions without loss of biological activity. Each biological system needed a defined quantity of water in the microemulsion for maximum activity. Under optimum conditions, microbial enzymes for various sources (hydrogenases, dehydrogenases) exhibited, besides ten-fold increase in specific activity, a temperature optimum up to 16 degree(s)C higher as compared to aqueous solutions. These experimental findings, together with theoretical considerations, imply that water structure inside reversed micelles is very different from free water, but similar to water in narrow compartments with polar or ionic surfaces. These compartments may represent a model system for environments, where (liquid) water is not available in bulk amounts, but embedded in an anhydrous matrix.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 July 1997
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3111, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms, (11 July 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.278806
Show Author Affiliations
Michael Hoppert, Institute fuer Mikrobiologie/Georg-August-Univ. Goettingen (Germany)
Klaus Mlejnek, Institute fuer Mikrobiologie/Georg-August-Univ. Goettingen (Germany)
Beatrix Seiffert, Institute fuer Mikrobiologie/Georg-August-Univ. Goettingen (Germany)
Frank Mayer, Institute fuer Mikrobiologie/Georg-August-Univ. Goettingen (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3111:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms
Richard B. Hoover, Editor(s)

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