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Impact of a high magnetic field on the orientation of gravitactic unicellular organisms – a critical consideration about the application of magnetic fields to mimic functional weightlessness

Hemmersbach, Ruth and Simon, Anja and Waßer, Kai and Hauslage, Jens and Christianen, Peter C.M. and Albers, Peter W. and Lebert, Michael and Richter, Peter and Alt, Wolfgang and Anken, Ralf (2014) Impact of a high magnetic field on the orientation of gravitactic unicellular organisms – a critical consideration about the application of magnetic fields to mimic functional weightlessness. Astrobiology, 14 (3), pp. 205-215. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. DOI: DOI: 10.1089/ast.2013.1085 ISSN 1531-1074

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Official URL: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/ast.2013.1085

Abstract

The gravity-dependent behavior of Paramecium biaurelia and Euglena gracilis have previously been studied on ground and in real microgravity. To validate whether high magnetic field exposure indeed provides a groundbased facility to mimic functional weightlessness, as has been suggested earlier, both cell types were observed during exposure in a strong homogeneous magnetic field (up to 30 T) and a strong magnetic field gradient. While swimming, Paramecium cells were aligned along the magnetic field lines; orientation of Euglena was perpendicular, demonstrating that the magnetic field determines the orientation and thus prevents the organisms from the random swimming known to occur in real microgravity. Exposing Astasia longa, a flagellate that is closely related to Euglena but lacks chloroplasts and the photoreceptor, as well as the chloroplast-free mutant E. gracilis 1F, to a high magnetic field revealed no reorientation to the perpendicular direction as in the case of wild-type E. gracilis, indicating the existence of an anisotropic structure (chloroplasts) that determines the direction of passive orientation. Immobilized Euglena and Paramecium cells could not be levitated even in the highest available magnetic field gradient as sedimentation persisted with little impact of the field on the sedimentation velocities. We conclude that magnetic fields are not suited as a microgravity simulation for gravitactic unicellular organisms due to the strong effect of the magnetic field itself, which masks the effects known from experiments in real microgravity.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/89516/
Document Type:Article
Title:Impact of a high magnetic field on the orientation of gravitactic unicellular organisms – a critical consideration about the application of magnetic fields to mimic functional weightlessness
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Hemmersbach, RuthGerman Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Simon, AnjaGerman Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Waßer, KaiGerman Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Hauslage, JensGerman Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Christianen, Peter C.M.Radbound University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The NetherlandsUNSPECIFIED
Albers, Peter W.Radbound University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The NetherlandsUNSPECIFIED
Lebert, MichaelFriedrich-Alexander-University, Department of Biology, Cell Biology Division, Erlangen, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Richter, PeterInstitute of Cell Biology, University of Erlangen, Erlangen, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Alt, WolfgangTheoretical Biology, University of Bonn, Bonn, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Anken, RalfGerman Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Date:2014
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:14
DOI :DOI: 10.1089/ast.2013.1085
Page Range:pp. 205-215
Editors:
EditorsEmail
Cady, SherryUNSPECIFIED
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
ISSN:1531-1074
Status:Published
Keywords:Levitation—Microgravity—Gravitaxis— Gravikinesis—Gravity
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 Biowissenschaftliche Nutzerunterstützung
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Biomedical Research
Deposited By: Anken, Ralf
Deposited On:24 Jun 2014 10:19
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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