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Karl Otto Stetter Edit Profile

microbiologist , university professor

Karl Otto Stetter, German microbiologist, educator. Recipient Deutsche Gesellschaft Hygiene award University Microbiology, 1985, Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Preis Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany, 1988, medal Lecturer The International Institute Biotechnology, London, 1994, Bergey medal, 1999, Leeuwenhoek medal, 2003.


Stetter, Karl Otto was born on July 16, 1941 in Munich. Son of Josef and Elisabeth (Huebner) Stetter.


Abitur, Staatl. Luitpold-Oberrealschule, Munich, 1960. Diploma in Biology, Technology University, Munich, 1969. Doctor (honorary), Technology University, Munich, 1973.

Doctor (honorary), Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, 1977.


He is an expert on microbial life at high temperatures. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on lactobacilli. From 1980 to 2002 he was professor at, and head of, the department of microbiology and of the Archaea center of the University of Regensburg.

The majority of Professor Stetter's research has focused on sampling, isolating and characterizing archaeal organisms which comprise the third domain of life, particularly undiscovered extremely heat-loving (hyperthermophilic) bacteria and Archaea, also called extremophiles, growing optimally between 80 and 113 °C.\r\nNanoarchaeum equitans, an archaeal microorganism containing the world's smallest known genome, was discovered by Stetter in 2002 in a hydrothermal vent off the coast of Iceland. This archaebacterium was described in the scientific journal Nature in May 2002. Among the other extremophiles discovered by Dr Stetter has been Pyrococcus furiosus, which was found on the Italian island of Vulcano in 1981.

This extremophile was the source of Pfu DNA polymerase. Stetter also discovered Aquifex aeolicus and Aquifex pyrophilus. Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina\r\nAmerican Society of Microbiology (ASM)\r\nBayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften\r\nDepartment of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Science (IGPP), UCLA\r\nDeutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie (DGHM)\r\nGesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh)\r\nGesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ärzte\r\nGesellschaft für Biologische Chemie (GBCh)\r\nInternational Committee on Environmental Biogeochemistry (ISEB)\r\nInternational Committee on Systematic Bacteriology (ICSB)\r\nInternational Institute of Biotechnology\r\nInternational Society for the Study of the Origin of Life (ISSOL)\r\nVereinigung für Allgemeine und Angewandte Mikrobiologie (VAAM).


  • In 2003, Stetter was honored with the Leeuwenhoek Medal by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, an award given every 10 years to the scientist who has made the most outstanding contributions to the advancement of microbiology. Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (1999).


  • Other Work

    • Member editorial board: Systematic and Applied Microbiology, Extremophiles, Astrobiology.


Fellow American Academy Microbiology. Member American Society Microbiology, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Royal Netherlands Academy Arts and Sciences, Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vereinigung f. Allg. University Angew.

Mikrobiologie, Deutsche Gesellschaft für. Hygiene und Mikrobiologie, Gesellschaft Deutscher Naturforscher und Ârzte, Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, Gesellschaft für. Biologische Chemie, The International Institute Biotechnology.


  • Other Interests

    Life sciences, orchid cultivation.


Married Heidi Zahradnik, December 20, 1969. Children: Sabine, Florian, Claudia.

Josef Stetter

Elisabeth (Huebner) Stetter

Heidi Zahradnik

Claudia Stetter

Florian Stetter

Sabine Stetter