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Effect of simulated microgravity in the fungus Aspergillus niger

Cortesao, M. and Holland, G. and Laue, M. and Meyer, V. and Moeller, R. (2019) Effect of simulated microgravity in the fungus Aspergillus niger. EANA 2019, 3 – 6 September 2019, Orléans, France.

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Fungi are able to colonize indoor-closed habitats such as space stations, in a variety of solid and liquid substrates – e.g. walls, windows, life-support systems, etc. Their growth is usually associated with material degradation and spore formation, which can pose a threat to both astronauts’ health and spacecraft safety, in particular when in long-duration missions [1-3]. This makes monitoring fungal populations a challenge for medical and operation requirements in current and future space missions. Aspergillus niger is one of the predominant fungus detected aboard the Russian Space Station (Mir) as well as the International Space Station (ISS), but it is also known as the model organism for modern biotechnology, producing compounds of interest ranging from citric acid to antibiotics and polymers, among many others [4]. Understanding how the space environment affects fungal growth is not only important to maintain health and safety in spacecraft habitats, but also to assess future opportunities for biotechnology in space. To study how microgravity affects the growth of A. niger, an approach was set to characterize the fungus internal structure under simulated microgravity. For that, A. niger was grown as a colony for 3-5 days in minimum medium at 30°C, in both Earth gravity (1 g) and simulated microgravity (SMG) using a Clinostat [4]. Three different mutant strains were included, to address the effect of melanin and polarized (tip) growth in adapting to the simulated microgravity environment. Colony microstructure was analyzed by newly established scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques; changes in colony growth were determined by colony area; sporulation yield was identified by determining the amount of spores produced per colony. Results reveal that simulated microgravity induces changes in colony thickness, colony area and sporulation yield, also suggesting that melanin plays a role in adapting to the low gravity environment. This work marks an important step in the establishment of new electron microscopy methodologies that can be used to study large-dimension samples of filamentous fungi, exposed to different experimental conditions, on Earth or in Space.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/129875/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Title:Effect of simulated microgravity in the fungus Aspergillus niger
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Cortesao, M.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Marta.Cortesao (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6603-1211
Holland, G.RobertKoch Institute (RKI), Advanced Light and Electron Microscopy, Berlin, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Laue, M.RobertKoch Institute (RKI), Advanced Light and Electron Microscopy, Berlin, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Meyer, V.Department of Applied and Molecular Microbiology, Institute of Biotechnology, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Moeller, R.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; ralf.moeller (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2371-0676
Date:3 September 2019
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Keywords:simulated microgravity, new electron microscopy methodologies, fungus Aspergillus niger
Event Title:EANA 2019
Event Location:Orléans, France
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:3 – 6 September 2019
Organizer:European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA)
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 - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie (old)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:30 Oct 2019 15:02
Last Modified:30 Oct 2019 15:02

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