SUMMARY: A thermoacidophilic micro-organism, isolated from volcanic hot springs near Naples, was cultivated and examined by electron microscopy in sections and after negative staining. The cells were almost spherical, with a diameter of about 0.7 to 1.0 μm. Their morphology was very primitive: the protoplasm was composed only of ground cytoplasm, ribosomes, and randomly distributed DNA strands. They were surrounded by a plasma membrane and by an extracellular coat about 20 nm thick which displayed a regular hexagonal pattern. Cell replication occurred by binary fission with median constriction during which a bipolar localization of nuclear material was observable. The morphology is compared with that of other known micro-organisms living in similar habitats.


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