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Tolerances of Deinococcus geothermalis Biofilms and Planktonic Cells Exposed to Space and Simulated Martian Conditions in Low Earth Orbit for Almost Two Years

Panitz, Corinna and Frösler, Jan and Wingender, Jost and Flemming, Hans-Curt and Rettberg, Petra (2019) Tolerances of Deinococcus geothermalis Biofilms and Planktonic Cells Exposed to Space and Simulated Martian Conditions in Low Earth Orbit for Almost Two Years. Astrobiology, 19 (8), pp. 979-994. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2018.1913 ISSN 1531-1074

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2018.1913


Fossilized biofilms represent one of the oldest known confirmations of life on the Earth. The success of microbes in biofilms results from properties that are inherent in the biofilm, including enhanced interaction, protection, and biodiversity. Given the diversity of microbes that live in biofilms in harsh environments on the Earth, it is logical to hypothesize that, if microbes inhabit other bodies in the Universe, there are also biofilms on those bodies. The Biofilm Organisms Surfing Space experiment was conducted as part of the EXPOSE-R2 mission on the International Space Station. The experiment was an international collaboration designed to perform a comparative study regarding the survival of biofilms versus planktonic cells of various microorganisms, exposed to space and Mars-like conditions. The objective was to determine whether there are lifestyledependent differences to cope with the unique mixture of stress factors, including desiccation, temperature oscillations, vacuum, or a Mars-like gas atmosphere and pressure in combination with extraterrestrial or Marslike ultraviolet (UV) radiation residing during the long-term space mission. In this study, the outcome of the flight and mission ground reference analysis of Deinococcus geothermalis is presented. Cultural tests demonstrated that D. geothermalis remained viable in the desiccated state, being able to survive space and Mars-like conditions and tolerating high extraterrestrial UV radiation for more than 2 years. Culturability decreased, but was better preserved, in the biofilm consortium than in planktonic cells. These results are correlated to differences in genomic integrity after exposure, as visualized by random amplified polymorphic DNA–polymerase chain reaction. Interestingly, cultivation-independent viability markers such as membrane integrity, ATP content, and intracellular esterase activity remained nearly unaffected, indicating that subpopulations of the cells had survived in a viable but nonculturable state. These findings support the hypothesis of long-term survival of microorganisms under the harsh environmental conditions in space and on Mars to a higher degree if exposed as biofilm.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/127053/
Document Type:Article
Title:Tolerances of Deinococcus geothermalis Biofilms and Planktonic Cells Exposed to Space and Simulated Martian Conditions in Low Earth Orbit for Almost Two Years
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Panitz, CorinnaInstitute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany; corinna.panitz (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-6740-761X
Frösler, JanBiofilm Centre, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.UNSPECIFIED
Wingender, JostBiofilm Centre, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.UNSPECIFIED
Flemming, Hans-CurtBiofilm Centre, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.UNSPECIFIED
Rettberg, PetraRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; petra.rettberg (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4439-2395
Date:29 March 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1089/ast.2018.1913
Page Range:pp. 979-994
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
Keywords:Biofilms, Planktonic cells, Desiccation, Extraterrestrial UV Radiation, Space, Mars, Deinococcus geothermalis, ISS, EXPOSE R2
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:03 Apr 2019 11:13
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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