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Published: 2020-12-14

New book on Life in extreme environments

NEWS A new book with Umeå researcher Natuschka Lee as editor and author describes researchers' actions on extremophilic organisms and their usefulness in various areas.

Text: Ingrid Söderbergh

"It feels exciting and I hope that this book can inspire more people to this research area, we actually just started scratching the surface! It is exciting that researchers from Umeå University are contributing with the volume of biotechnological applications as astrobiotics and astrobiology are two special areas that we want to refine in Umeå," says Natuschka Lee, researcher at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Umeå University.

The book is part of a new international series about extremophile life on earth and their possibilities, not only on our own planet but also in space. The editor-in-chief of the series is the renowned geo- and astrobiologist Dirk Wagner at the Helmholtz Center at the University of Potsdam in Germany.
Extremophilic organisms were first discovered in the late 1960s and became the turning point in broadening our concepts around the definition of life and it also became the basis for today's astrobiology. Extremophiles are also important in molecular biology and biotechnology as many tools and processes could not have been developed without their extreme properties.

This is truly a fantastic area of the future

"Without them, life could not have developed during the earth's early history, when the earth was very unwelcoming compared to the world we are used to today. Furthermore, their properties offer unimaginable possibilities in astrobiology, especially in the new exciting field of astrobiotics," says Natuschka Lee.

The new book Biotechnological applications of extremophilic microorganisms presents fourteen chapters on various aspects of the benefits of extremophilic organisms, from pure basic research in life evolution and molecular biology to applications in a number of different subject areas where new opportunities in bioeconomy, green economics and medical research are introduced.

The book series provides a good overview of the latest discoveries in basic research in molecular biology, medical applications, food biotechnology, agriculture, environmental biotechnology, and astrobiotics and is aimed at everyone interested, from the general public to students and researchers.

"We have already received several positive comments, including from the Friends' Association to Christer Fuglesang's Space Center who have started a new space education at high school level in Stockholm, and who are currently considering if they want to implement astrobiotics in the program. This is truly a fantastic area of the future!"