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A prokaryotic species can be grouped as a psychrophile, psychrotroph, mesophile, thermophile, or hyperthermophile, according to its optimum temperature for growth. A species can also be grouped according to its oxygen requirements as an obligate aerobe, obligate anaerobe, facultative anaerobe, microaerophile, or aerotolerant anaerobe. Most species are neutrophiles and grow best near neutral pH; acidophiles prefer acidic conditions, and alkalophiles grow best in alkaline conditions. All organisms require water for growth, but halophiles grow best in high-salt conditions.

■ Describe four environmental factors that influence the growth of bacteria.

■ List the categories into which bacteria can be classified according to their requirements for oxygen.

■ Why would small organic compounds affect the water content of cells?

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