Abstract Many hydrocarbon-contaminated environments are characterized by low or elevated temperatures, acidic or alkaline pH, high salt concentrations, or high pressure. Hydrocarbon-degrading microorganisms, adapted to grow and thrive in these environments, play an important role in the biological treatment of polluted extreme habitats. The biodegradation (transformation or mineralization) of a wide range of hydrocarbons, including aliphatic, aromatic, halogenated and nitrated compounds, has been shown to occur in various extreme habitats. The biodegradation of many components of petroleum hydrocarbons has been reported in a variety of terrestrial and marine cold ecosystems. Cold-adapted hydrocarbon degraders are also useful for wastewater treatment. The use of thermophiles for biodegradation of hydrocarbons wit
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