Friday 27 May 2022

Bacteria and temperatures of growth


Microorganisms are adept at surviving extreme environments (both physical and geochemical), including ultracentrifugation, hypervelocity, shock pressure, high temperature variations, vacuums, and different ultraviolet and ionizing radiation intensities. On Earth, microorganisms are found to thrive at 6.7 kilometres depth inside the Earth’s crust, and more than 10 kilometres deep inside the ocean at pressures of up to 110 Megapascals (the piezophiles); from extreme acid, even at pH 0 (acidophiles) to extreme basic conditions, with up to pH 12.8 recorded (alkaliphiles); and from hydrothermal vents at 122 °C to frozen sea water at −20 °C (in the case of Psychrobacter cryopegella).

Understanding temperature variations is of importance of assessing microbial risk in pharmaceutical processing, in terms of whether microorganisms may be present.


(such as a cold room or hot water system); whether they might survive and pose a problem to a non-sterile product; and as part of the process of establishing their origins for root cause analysis.


This article assesses the core differences with bacterial growth and survival at different temperatures. The article also explains why organisms that are often generally associated with cold environments might survive, potentially elevating the risks to pharmaceutical facility cold rooms.


Sandle, T. (2022) Bacteria and temperatures of growth: Cold comfort?, Pharmig News, Issue 87, pp12-16 (see: here)


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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