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Mesotoga prima is the first described mesophilic member of the bacterial phylum Thermotogae. All other lineages in this phylum are either thermophiles or hyperthermophiles, which makes Mesotoga a good model for studying temperature adaptation. These organisms were first detected in anaerobic mesothermic environments using PCR amplification and metagenomic methods. They are common inhabitants of hydrocarbon impacted sites such as low temperature oil reservoirs. They have also been found in several anaerobic enrichment cultures and environmental samples involved in bioremediation of pollutants (e.g. PCBs). They are often only detected when the pollutant is added, suggesting that they might be involved in the bioremediation processes. They are also often observed in biofilms treating wastewater, and can constitute a significant proportion of the mature biofilm in such systems.