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Pure Appl. Chem., 2000, Vol. 72, No. 10, pp. 1835-1838

Endothermic microbial growth. A calorimetric investigation of an extreme case of entropy-driven microbial growth

U. von Stockar, I. W. Marison and J.-S. Liu

Laboratory of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Abstract: Life is almost always associated with the generation of heat. Thus far, all chemotrophic life forms that have been studied in calorimeters were found to be exothermic. Certain literature reports have even cast doubt on the existence of endothermic growth, even though thermodynamic principles do not rule it out. The present report describes the first experiments demonstrating the actual existence of chemotrophic life forms that take up heat rather than produce it.