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Response of methanogenic archaea from Siberian permafrost and non-permafrost environments to simulated Mars-like desiccation and the presence of perchlorate

Serrano, P. and Alawi, M. and de Vera, J. P. and Wagner, D. (2019) Response of methanogenic archaea from Siberian permafrost and non-permafrost environments to simulated Mars-like desiccation and the presence of perchlorate. Astrobiology, 19 (2), pp. 197-208. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. doi: 10.1089/ast.2018.1877. ISSN 1531-1074.

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Official URL: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/ast.2018.1877


Numerous preflight investigations were necessary prior to the exposure experiment BIOMEX on the International Space Station to test the basic potential of selected microorganisms to resist or even to be active under Mars-like conditions. In this study, methanogenic archaea, which are anaerobic chemolithotrophic microorganisms whose lifestyle would allow metabolism under the conditions on early and recent Mars, were analyzed. Some strains from Siberian permafrost environments have shown a particular resistance. In this investigation, we analyzed the response of three permafrost strains (Methanosarcina soligelidi SMA-21, Candidatus Methanosarcina SMA-17, Candidatus Methanobacterium SMA-27) and two related strains from non-Permafrost environments (Methanosarcina mazei, Methanosarcina barkeri) to desiccation conditions (-80C for 315 days, martian regolith analog simulants S-MRS and P-MRS, a 128-day period of simulated Mars-like atmosphere). Exposure of the different methanogenic strains to increasing concentrations of magnesium perchlorate allowed for the study of their metabolic shutdown in a Mars-relevant perchlorate environment. Survival and metabolic recovery were analyzed by quantitative PCR, gas chromatography, and a new DNA-extraction method from viable cells embedded in S-MRS and P-MRS. All strains survived the two Mars-like desiccating scenarios and recovered to different extents. The permafrost strain SMA-27 showed an increased methanogenic activity by at least 10-fold after deep-freezing conditions. The methanogenic rates of all strains did not decrease significantly after 128 days S-MRS exposure, except for SMA-27, which decreased 10-fold. The activity of strains SMA-17 and SMA-27 decreased after 16 and 60 days P-MRS exposure. Non-permafrost strains showed constant survival and methane production when exposed to both desiccating scenarios. All strains showed unaltered methane production when exposed to the perchlorate concentration reported at the Phoenix landing site (2.4 mM) or even higher concentrations. We conclude that methanogens from (non-)permafrost Environments are suitable candidates for potential life in the martian subsurface and therefore are worthy of study after space exposure experiments that approach Mars-like surface conditions.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/128610/
Document Type:Article
Title:Response of methanogenic archaea from Siberian permafrost and non-permafrost environments to simulated Mars-like desiccation and the presence of perchlorate
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Serrano, P.Geoforschungszentrum, PotsdamUNSPECIFIED
Alawi, M.GFZ, German Research Centre for Geosciences, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, Section 5.3 Geomicrobiology, Telegrafenberg, Potsdam,UNSPECIFIED
de Vera, J. P.DLR, German Aerospace Center, Management and Infrastructure, Astrobiological Laboratories, Berlin, Germany.https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9530-5821
Wagner, D.Geoforschungszentrum, PotsdamUNSPECIFIED
Date:February 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.2018.1877
Page Range:pp. 197-208
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
Keywords:Methanogenic archaea; simulated Mars-like conditions; Subfreezing temperatures; Martian regolith analogs; Perchlorate; Permafrost
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Space Exploration
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Planetary Evolution and Life (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Leitungsbereich PF
Deposited By: de Vera, Dr. Jean Pierre Paul
Deposited On:15 Aug 2019 13:36
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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