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Name: Jessica
Status: Student
Grade:  9-12
Location: IL
Country: United States
Date: May 2007


Question:
What does cold air do to bacteria?



Replies:
There are lots of possible answers to this question. I'll try to give a couple.

Most bacteria live in water, or moist environments, so the main thing air (of any temperature) would do is dry them out. Some bacteria can form spores if they get too dry, but others would just die.

Cold in general causes cells to 'slow down' -- everything in a cell just works more slowly at lower temperatures. If you cool down to near-freezing, cells reproduce very slowly (that's part of the reason why refrigerators keep food edible longer). If you have really cold temperatures (below freezing), the water in the cells will freeze. This can kill the cells. Or, you can add special additives to be able to freeze, then thaw, and revive the cells.

Hope this helps,
Burr



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