At what temperature the life ceases to evolve?




Scientists have once again passed the barrier the lowest temperature at which can develop and support life. A study published in PLoS One, shows that at temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius unicellular organisms and are dehydrated to a glassy state during which can not complete their life cycle.

The researchers suggested that as organisms can not grow at temperatures below this, you can designate it as the lower limit of temperature for life on Earth.

They subjected the unicellular organisms in the aquatic environment and the temperature was decreased. As soon as it has fallen, the medium turn into ice and water and crystallized in organisms. Consequently, cells are first dehydrated and then solidify. Once a cell becomes glassy, ​​scientists can establish the fact that it is not able to reproduce, but it can be brought back to life when the temperature rises again. This phase is similar to the glass with the state in which the seeds are as drying.

“The most interesting thing in the glass transition that, in general, the cell survives, where, in principle, can not survive if you freeze to death internally, you will die. But if you can control your own crystallization, you will survive, “- says Professor Andrew Clark, the lead author of the study. – “Once a cell receives a glassy form, she can continue to live down to the lowest temperatures. She just can not do much until it warms up. ”

More complex organisms are able to survive at low temperatures because the cells are able to control the environment to a greater or lesser extent.

“The bacteria, unicellular algae, and unicellular fungi – most of them in the world live freely because they do not rely on other organisms,” – explains Clark. – “Rest, like trees, animals and insects, it has the ability to control fluid which surrounds their inner cells. In our case it is the blood and lymph. In complex organisms, cells are found in the environment, which can control the body. Free-living organisms are deprived of it, and if the ice is formed around, they need to adapt their own. ”

If a free-living cell cools too quickly and do not have time to take a glass-formation, it will not survive.

To some extent, this explains how the deep freezing of food. Most freezer operating at a temperature of about 20 ° C. At this temperature, mold and bacteria can not grow and spoil the food.

How we can help this information? Yes, as everything from the study of remote corners of our own planet to search for life on Mars .
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