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In taxonomy
Alpha taxonomy
Alpha taxonomy is the discipline concerned with finding, describing and naming species of living or fossil organisms. This field is supported by institutions holding collections of these organisms, with relevant data, carefully curated: such institutes include natural history museums, herbaria and...

, Thermoplasma is a genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of the Thermoplasmataceae
In taxonomy, the Thermoplasmataceae are a family of the Thermoplasmatales.-External links:...


Thermoplasma is a genus of archaea
The Archaea are a group of single-celled microorganisms. A single individual or species from this domain is called an archaeon...

. It belongs to the Thermoplasmata
In taxonomy, the Thermoplasmata are a class of the Euryarchaeota.All are acidophiles, growing optimally at pH below 2. Picrophilus is currently the most acidophilic of all known organisms growing at a minimum pH of 0.06. Many of these organisms do not contain a cell wall, although this is not true...

, which thrive in acidic and high-temperature environments. Thermoplasma are facultative anaerobes and respire using sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 and organic carbon. They do not contain a cell wall but instead contain a unique membrane composed mainly of a tetraether lipoglycan containing atypical archaeal tetraether lipid attached to a glucose
Glucose is a simple sugar and an important carbohydrate in biology. Cells use it as the primary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate...

- and mannose
Mannose is a sugar monomer of the aldohexose series of carbohydrates. Mannose is a C-2 epimer of glucose. It is not part of human metabolism, but is a component of microbial cell walls, and is therefore a target of the immune system and also of antibiotics....

-containing oligosaccharide. This lipoglycan is presumably responsible for the acid and thermal stability of the Thermoplasma membrane.

Currently the genus Thermoplasma contains two species, T. acidophilum and T. volcanium. T. acidophilum was originally isolated from a self-heating coal refuse pile, at pH 2 and 59 °C. Many T. volcanium strains have been isolated from solfatara fields throughout the world. Both species are highly flagellated. The genomes for both T. acidophilum (Ruepp, 2000) and T. volcanicum have been sequenced.

T. acidophilum is a thermoacidophilic archaeon that was isolated from a coal refuse pile. T. acidophilum grows optimally at 56 ℃, pH 1.8 and size of a cell is about 1 μm. T. acidophilum lacks a cell wall and the cell membrane is exposed directly outside. T. acidophilum shows various cell shapes depending upon growth conditions and stages. Though there is no cell wall, it shows various forms.

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