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SALT-LOVING MICROBES, LIMITS OF LIFE, MARS AND THE MESSINIAN SALINITY CRISIS

Magliulo, M. and Georgiev, N. and Beblo-Vranesevic, K. and Rettberg, P. and McGenity, T.J. (2020) SALT-LOVING MICROBES, LIMITS OF LIFE, MARS AND THE MESSINIAN SALINITY CRISIS. MEDSALT Symposium, 25.-27. February 2020, Piran, Slovenia.

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Abstract

Hypersaline environments are subjected to dynamic environmental conditions which can result in precipitation of salt crystals, including halite. Microbial communities living in salt-saturated environments get trapped inside halite, including members of the three domains of life, but primarily haloarchaea. Entombment is a strategy for avoiding the harsh bittern brine that remains after halite precipitation. There is strong evidence that haloarchaea can survive in halite over geological time, which has remarkable implications about the limits of life and the possibility of life on Mars, where salt crystals are found. However, potential life on Mars would have to cope with high levels of solar and cosmic radiation. We asked whether co-entombment of Halobacterium spp. with the halophilic microalga. Dunaliella salina, enhances survival, e.g. by sharing nutrients. Surprisingly, D. salina did not enhance survival of Halobacterium spp., but its presence allowed D. salina to survive entombment for longer, at least over a short period of time. We also tested the capacity of Halobacterium spp. and the halophilic bacterial species Salinibacter ruber to tolerate UV and ionising radiation when in halite crystals. All species survived UV irradiation when in halite crystals and Halobacterium even survived a ionising radiation dose of 5 kGy. The longevity of haloarchaea, together with their tolerance to radiation, makes them a good model to investigate putative signs of past life in the Messinian, as well as past or present life on Mars, and potentially other celestial bodies.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/134250/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:SALT-LOVING MICROBES, LIMITS OF LIFE, MARS AND THE MESSINIAN SALINITY CRISIS
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Magliulo, M.School of Life Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, UKUNSPECIFIED
Georgiev, N.School of Life Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, UKUNSPECIFIED
Beblo-Vranesevic, K.radiation biology department, institute of aerospace medicine, german aerospace center (dlr), cologne, germany - MASE teamhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-4834-7121
Rettberg, P.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; petra.rettberg (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-4439-2395
McGenity, T.J.School of Life Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex, UKUNSPECIFIED
Date:25 February 2020
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:salt-loving microbes, solar and cosmic Radiation, Mars
Event Title:MEDSALT Symposium
Event Location:Piran, Slovenia
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:25.-27. February 2020
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:03 Mar 2020 12:53
Last Modified:03 Mar 2020 12:53

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