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psychrophile Line breaks: psy¦chro|phile
Pronunciation: /ˈsʌɪkrə(ʊ)fʌɪl/

Entry from British & World English dictionary

Definition of psychrophile in English:


An organism that grows best at temperatures close to freezing.
Example sentences
  • Hoover initially went to the CRREL tunnel in search of ‘psychrophiles’ - organisms that live only at extremely low temperatures.
  • Psychrophilic enzymes are present in psychrophiles, organisms that have adapted to very cold climates, such as those microorganisms living in the Artic and Antarctic regions.
  • Bacteria growing at low temperature are generally grouped into two categories, psychrotrophs and psychrophiles, both having the ability to grow at zero and subzero temperatures.


Example sentences
  • In a refrigerator these organisms are repressed; instead, psychrophilic bacteria attack the milk protein and turn the milk alkaline and smelly.
  • Meanwhile, Earth-dwelling extremophile microorganisms, both thermophilic (heat-loving) and psychrophilic (cold-loving), are variously adapted to temperatures that would fry us or freeze us.
  • For psychrophilic fungi this can be achieved by reducing the air humidity and by preventing the formation of a water film on the canopy by using internal air circulation, heating or ventilation.


1920s: from Greek psukhros 'cold' + -phile.

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