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The Responses of the Black Fungus Cryomyces Antarcticus to High Doses of Accelerated Helium Ions Radiation within Martian Regolith Simulants and Their Relevance for Mars

  • One of the primary current astrobiological goals is to understand the limits of microbial resistance to extraterrestrial conditions. Much attention is paid to ionizing radiation, since it can prevent the preservation and spread of life outside the Earth. The aim of this research was to study the impact of accelerated He ions (150 MeV/n, up to 1 kGy) as a component of the galactic cosmic rays on the black fungus C. antarcticus when mixed with Antarctic sandstones—the substratum of its natural habitat—and two Martian regolith simulants, which mimics two different evolutionary stages of Mars. The high dose of 1 kGy was used to assess the effect of dose accumulation in dormant cells within minerals, under long-term irradiation estimated on a geological time scale. The data obtained suggests that viable Earth-like microorganisms can be preserved in the dormant state in the near-surface scenario for approximately 322,000 and 110,000 Earth years within Martian regolith that mimic early and present Mars environmental conditions, respectively. In addition, the results of the study indicate the possibility of maintaining traces within regolith, as demonstrated by the identification of melanin pigments through UltraViolet-visible (UV-vis) spectrophotometric approach.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Claudia Pacelli, Alessia Cassaro, Lorenzo Aureli, Ralf Moeller, Akira Fujimori, Silvano Onofri
Parent Title (English):Life
Article Number:130
Number of pages:14
Place of publication:Basel
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2020/07/31
Copyright:© 2020 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Funding Information:This research was funded by Italian Space Agency, grant number ASI N. 2019-3-U.0, Life in Space. R.M. was supported by the DLR grant FuE-Projekt “ISS LIFE” (Programm RF-FuW, Teilprogramm 475). A.F. and R.M. received support by the MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Living in Space” (Grant Numbers: 15H05935, 15K21745).
This article belongs to the Special Issue Life on Mars.
Keyword:Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCRs); Mars environment; UV-vis spectroscopy; black fungi; melanin; resistance; survival
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Angewandte Naturwissenschaften
Institut für funktionale Gen-Analytik (IFGA)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Entry in this database:2020/08/06
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International