Thermus aquaticus was originally isolated from a number of hot springs in Yellowstone National Park and a hot spring in California (U.S.A.) and was subsequently isolated from hot springs in other parts of the world and even from artificial hot water environments such as hot tap water (Brock and Freeze 1969; Brock and Boylen 1973). Previously, microbiologists had enriched for thermophilic bacteria (i.e, bacteria that thrive at high temperatures) at 55° C, but the discoverer of T. aquaticus, Thomas Brock, found that many thermophiles in his studies of microbial ecology would not be easily detected at such a "low" temperature since they require temperatures above 70° C to flourish.
- Brock, T. D., & Boylen K. L. (1973). Presence of Thermophilic Bacteria in Laundry and Domestic Hot-Water Heaters. Applied Microbiology. 25, 72-76.
- Brock, T. D., & Freeze H. (1969). Thermus aquaticus gen. n. and sp. n., a non-sporulating extreme thermophile. Journal of Bacteriology. 98, 289-297.
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