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Viability of the lichen Xanthoria elegans and its symbionts after 18 months of space exposure and simulated Mars conditions on the ISS

Brandt, A. and de Vera, Jean Pierre Paul and Onofri, S. and Ott, S. (2014) Viability of the lichen Xanthoria elegans and its symbionts after 18 months of space exposure and simulated Mars conditions on the ISS. International Journal of Astrobiology, pp. 1-15. Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/S1473550414000214 ISSN 1473-5504

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Official URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9308457&fileId=S1473550414000214


The lichen Xanthoria elegans has been exposed to space conditions and simulated Mars-analogue conditions in the lichen and fungi experiment (LIFE) on the International Space Station (ISS). After several simulations and short space exposure experiments such as BIOPAN, this was the first long-term exposure of eukaryotic organisms to the hostile space conditions of the low Earth orbit (LEO). The biological samples were integrated in the EXPOSE-E facility and exposed for 1.5 years outside the ISS to the combined impact of insolation, ultraviolet (UV)-irradiation, cosmic radiation, temperatures and vacuum conditions of LEO space. Additionally, a subset of X. elegans samples was exposed to simulated Martian environmental conditions by applying Mars-analogue atmosphere and suitable solar radiation filters. After their return to Earth the viability of the lichen samples was ascertained by viability analysis of LIVE/DEAD staining and confocal laser-scanning microscopy, but also by analyses of chlorophyll a fluorescence. According to the LIVE/DEAD staining results, the lichen photobiont showed an average viability rate of 71%, whereas the even more resistant lichen mycobiont showed a rate of 84%. Post-exposure viability rates did not significantly vary among the applied exposure conditions. This remarkable viability is discussed in the context of particular protective mechanisms of lichens such as anhydrobiosis and UV-screening pigments.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/90411/
Document Type:Article
Additional Information:gefördert vom BMWi Bisher nur online erschienen.
Title:Viability of the lichen Xanthoria elegans and its symbionts after 18 months of space exposure and simulated Mars conditions on the ISS
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Brandt, A.Heinrich-Heine-Universität DüsseldorfUNSPECIFIED
de Vera, Jean Pierre Pauljean-pierre.devera (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Onofri, S.DECOS, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Largo dell’Università, Viterbo, Italy;UNSPECIFIED
Ott, S.Institute of Botany, Heinrich-Heine-University, Universitätsstr.1, 40225 Düsseldorf, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Date:10 June 2014
Journal or Publication Title:International Journal of Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1017/S1473550414000214
Page Range:pp. 1-15
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Keywords:astrobiology, insolation, Lithopanspermia, mycobiont, photobiont, UV-resistance
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Exploration des Sonnensystems
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Experimentelle Planetenphysik
Deposited By: de Vera, Dr. Jean Pierre Paul
Deposited On:27 Aug 2014 08:25
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 19:47

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