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Publication . Article . 1998

Biopan-survival I: Exposure of the osmophiles Synechococcus SP. (Nageli) and Haloarcula SP. to the space environment

Rocco L. Mancinelli; M.R. White; Lynn J. Rothschild;
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 1998
Publisher: Zenodo
Abstract The objective of this study was to determine the survivability of osmophilic microorganisms in space, as well as examine the DNA breakage in osmophilic cells exposed to solar UV-radiation plus vacuum and to vacuum only. The organisms used were an unidentified species of Synechococcus (Nageli) that inhabits the evaporitic gypsum-halite crusts that form along the marine intertidal, and an unidentified species of the extremely halophilic genus Haloarcula (designated as isolate G) isolated from a evaporitic NaCl crystal. Because these organisms are desiccation resistant and gypsum-halite as well as NaCl attenuate UV-radiation, we hypothesized that these organisms would survive in the space environment, better than most others. The organisms were exposed to the space environment for 2 weeks while in earth orbit aboard the Biopan facility. Ground controls were tested in a space simulation facility. All samples were compared to unexposed samples. Survivability was determined by plate counts and the most probable number technique. DNA breakage was determined by labeling breaks in the DNA with 32 P followed by translation. Results indicate that the osmophilic microbes survived the 2 week exposure. The major cause of cell death was DNA damage. The number of strand breaks in the DNA from vacuum UV exposed cells was greater than the vacuum only exposed cells.
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: DNA chemistry.chemical_compound chemistry Most probable number Microbiology Microorganism Halophile Synechococcus biology.organism_classification biology DNA damage BIOPAN Desiccation


Space and Planetary Science, Aerospace Engineering, General Earth and Planetary Sciences, Atmospheric Science, Geophysics, Astronomy and Astrophysics

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