A microaerophile is a
microorganism A microorganism, or microbe,, ''mikros'', "small") and ''organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...
that requires
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

to survive, but requires environments containing lower levels of oxygen than that are present in the
atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in ...

(i.e. < 21% O2; typically 2–10% O2). Many microaerophiles are also
capnophiles Capnophiles are microorganisms that thrive in the presence of high concentrations of carbon dioxide (). Some capnophiles may have a metabolic requirement for carbon dioxide, while others merely compete more successfully for resources under these ...
, requiring an elevated concentration of carbon dioxide (e.g. 10% CO2 in the case of ''Campylobacter'' species).


Microaerophiles can be cultivated in candle jars. Candle jars are containers into which a lit candle is introduced before sealing the container's airtight lid. The candle's flame burns until extinguished by oxygen deprivation, creating a carbon dioxide-rich, oxygen-poor atmosphere. Other methods of creating a microaerobic environment include using a gas-generating pack and gas exchange.


* ''Campylobacter'' species are microaerophilic. * ''Helicobacter pylori'', a species of proteobacteria that has been linked to peptic ulcers and some types of gastritis

See also

* Aerobic respiration * Anaerobic respiration * Facultative anaerobic organism, Facultative anaerobe * Fermentation * Obligate aerobe * Obligate anaerobe * Oxygenation (environmental)


External links

Characterization of an unclassified microaerophilic bacterium associated with gastroenteritis.
Microbial growth and nutrition {{Microbiology-stub