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Iron Ion Particle Radiation Resistance of Dried Colonies of Cryomyces antarcticus Embedded in Martian Regolith Analogues

  • Among the celestial bodies in the Solar System, Mars currently represents the main target for the search for life beyond Earth. However, its surface is constantly exposed to high doses of cosmic rays (CRs) that may pose a threat to any biological system. For this reason, investigations into the limits of resistance of life to space relevant radiation is fundamental to speculate on the chance of finding extraterrestrial organisms on Mars. In the present work, as part of the STARLIFE project, the responses of dried colonies of the black fungus Cryomyces antarcticus Culture Collection of Fungi from Extreme Environments (CCFEE) 515 to the exposure to accelerated iron (LET: 200 keV/μm) ions, which mimic part of CRs spectrum, were investigated. Samples were exposed to the iron ions up to 1000 Gy in the presence of Martian regolith analogues. Our results showed an extraordinary resistance of the fungus in terms of survival, recovery of metabolic activity and DNA integrity. These experiments give new insights into the survival probability of possible terrestrial-like life forms on the present or past Martian surface and shallow subsurface environments.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Lorenzo Aureli, Claudia Pacelli, Alessia Cassaro, Akira Fujimori, Ralf Moeller, Silvano Onofri
Parent Title (English):Life
Article Number:306
Number of pages:12
Place of publication:Basel
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2020/11/24
Copyright:©2020 by the authors. This article is an open accessarticle distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY).
Keyword:Mars; accelerated iron ions; cosmic rays; fungi; life on Mars
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
Entry in this database:2020/11/25
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International