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Aggregated Cell Masses Provide Protection against Space Extremes and a Microhabitat for Hitchhiking Co-Inhabitants

Wadsworth, Jennifer and Rettberg, Petra and Cockell, Charles (2019) Aggregated Cell Masses Provide Protection against Space Extremes and a Microhabitat for Hitchhiking Co-Inhabitants. Astrobiology, 19 (8), pp. 995-1007. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2018.1924 ISSN 1531-1074

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ast.2018.1924

Abstract

The European Space Agency’s EXPOSE facility, located on the outside of the International Space Station, was used to investigate the survival of cell aggregates of a cyanobacterium, Gloeocapsa sp., in space and simulated martian conditions for 531 days in low Earth orbit as part of the ‘‘Biofilm Organisms Surfing Space’’ (BOSS) experiments. Postflight analysis showed that the cell aggregates of the organism conferred protection against space conditions compared to planktonic cells. These cell aggregates, which consisted of groups of metabolically inactive cells that do not form structured layered biofilms, demonstrated that disordered ‘‘primitive’’ aggregates of sheathed cells can provide protection against environmental stress such as UV radiation. Furthermore, the experiment demonstrated that the cyanobacterial cell aggregates provided a microhabitat for a smaller bacterial co-cultured species that also survived in space. This observation shows that viable cells can ‘‘hitchhike’’ through space within the confines of larger protecting cells or cell aggregates, with implications for planetary protection, human health, and other space microbiology applications.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/128154/
Document Type:Article
Title:Aggregated Cell Masses Provide Protection against Space Extremes and a Microhabitat for Hitchhiking Co-Inhabitants
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Wadsworth, JenniferUK Centre for Astrobiology, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.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
Cockell, CharlesUK Centre for Astrobiology, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.; c.s.cockell (at) ed.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Date:13 June 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:19
DOI :10.1089/ast.2018.1924
Page Range:pp. 995-1007
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
ISSN:1531-1074
Status:Published
Keywords:Space Radiation, Biofilms, Radiation Protection, Cyanobacteria, Mars, EXPOSE
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:28 Jun 2019 10:14
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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