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We identify and describe the distribution of temperature-dependent specific growth rates for life on Earth, which we term the biokinetic spectrum for temperature. The spectrum has the potential to provide for more robust modeling in thermal ecology since any conclusions derived from it will be based on observed data rather than using theoretical assumptions. It may also provide constraints for systems biology model predictions and provide insights in physiology. The spectrum has a Δ-shape with a sharp peak at around 42°C. At higher temperatures up to 60°C there was a gap of attenuated growth rates. We found another peak at 67°C and a steady decline in maximum rates thereafter. By using Bayesian quantile regression to summarise and explore the data we were able to conclude that the gap represented an actual biological transition between mesophiles and thermophiles that we term the Mesophile-Thermophile Gap MTG. We have not identified any organism that grows above the maximum rate of the spectrum. We used a thermodynamic model to recover the Δ-shape, suggesting that the growth rate limits arise from a trade-off between activity and stability of proteins. The spectrum provides underpinning principles that will find utility in models concerned with the thermal responses of biological processes.

Autor: Ross Corkrey , Tom A. McMeekin, John P. Bowman, David A. Ratkowsky, June Olley, Tom Ross



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