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MARSBOx: Fungal and Bacterial Endurance From a Balloon-Flown Analog Mission in the Stratosphere

Cortesao, Marta and Siems, Katharina and Koch, Stella Marie and Beblo-Vranesevic, Kristina and Rabbow, Elke and Berger, Thomas and Lane, Michael and James, Leandro and Johnson, Prital and Waters, Samantha M. and Verma, Sonali D. and Smith, David J. and Moeller, Ralf (2021) MARSBOx: Fungal and Bacterial Endurance From a Balloon-Flown Analog Mission in the Stratosphere. Frontiers in Microbiology, 12, p. 601713. Frontiers Media S.A.. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.601713. ISSN 1664-302X.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.601713

Abstract

Whether terrestrial life can withstand the martian environment is of paramount interest for planetary protection measures and space exploration. To understand microbial survival potential in Mars-like conditions, several fungal and bacterial samples were launched in September 2019 on a large NASA scientific balloon flight to the middle stratosphere (∼38 km altitude) where radiation levels resembled values at the equatorial Mars surface. Fungal spores of Aspergillus niger and bacterial cells of Salinisphaera shabanensis, Staphylococcus capitis subsp. capitis, and Buttiauxella sp. MASE-IM-9 were launched inside the MARSBOx (Microbes in Atmosphere for Radiation, Survival, and Biological Outcomes Experiment) payload filled with an artificial martian atmosphere and pressure throughout the mission profile. The dried microorganisms were either exposed to full UV-VIS radiation (UV dose = 1148 kJ m⁻² ) or were shielded from radiation. After the 5-h stratospheric exposure, samples were assayed for survival and metabolic changes. Spores from the fungus A. niger and cells from the Gram-(–) bacterium S. shabanensis were the most resistant with a 2- and 4-log reduction, respectively. Exposed Buttiauxella sp. MASE-IM-9 was completely inactivated (both with and without UV exposure) and S. capitis subsp. capitis only survived the UV shielded experimental condition (3-log reduction). Our results underscore a wide variation in survival phenotypes of spacecraft associated microorganisms and support the hypothesis that pigmented fungi may be resistant to the martian surface if inadvertently delivered by spacecraft missions.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/141095/
Document Type:Article
Title:MARSBOx: Fungal and Bacterial Endurance From a Balloon-Flown Analog Mission in the Stratosphere
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Cortesao, MartaRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Marta.Cortesao (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6603-1211
Siems, KatharinaRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Katharina.Siems (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7349-0846
Koch, Stella MarieRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Beblo-Vranesevic, KristinaRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; kristina.beblo (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-4834-7121
Rabbow, ElkeRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Elke.Rabbow (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9301-2021
Berger, ThomasRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Thomas.Berger (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3319-5740
Lane, MichaelNASA Kennedy Space Center, Engineering Directorate, Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, FL, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
James, LeandroNASA Kennedy Space Center, Engineering Directorate, Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, FL, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Johnson, PritalNASA Kennedy Space Center, Engineering Directorate, Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, FL, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Waters, Samantha M.Universities Space Research Association, Moffett Field, CA, United States and NASA Ames Research Center, Space Biosciences Research Branch, Moffett Field, CA, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Verma, Sonali D.NASA Ames Research Center, Space Biosciences Research Branch, Moffett Field, CA, United States and Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Moffett Field, CA, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Smith, David J.NASA Ames Research Center, Space Biosciences Research Branch, Moffett Field, CA, United States; david.j.smith-3 (at) nasa.govUNSPECIFIED
Moeller, RalfRadiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Ralf.Moeller (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2371-0676
Date:22 February 2021
Journal or Publication Title:Frontiers in Microbiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:12
DOI :10.3389/fmicb.2021.601713
Page Range:p. 601713
Publisher:Frontiers Media S.A.
ISSN:1664-302X
Status:Published
Keywords:Mars simulation, fungal spores, spore survival, space, radiation, UV, balloon flight, stress resistance
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 - Project ISS LIFE 2.0
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:12 Mar 2021 10:28
Last Modified:14 Apr 2021 14:28

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