Peer-reviewed articles

The responses of an anaerobic microorganism, Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 to individual and combined simulated Martian stresses

Authors: Beblo-Vranesevic K, Bohmeier M, Perras AK, Schwendner P, Rabbow E, Moissl-Eichinger C, Cockell C, Pukall R, Vannier P, Marteinsson VT, Monaghan EP, Ehrenfreund P, Garcia-Descalzo L, Gómez F, Malki M , Amils R, Gaboyer F, Westall F, Cabezas P, Walter N, Rettberg P, Amendola R

Version: PloS one

Publication year: 2017


The limits of life of aerobic microorganisms are well understood, but the responses of anaerobic microorganisms to individual and combined extreme stressors are less well known. Motivated by an interest in understanding the survivability of anaerobic microorganisms under Martian conditions, we investigated the responses of a new isolate, Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 to individual and combined stresses associated with the Martian surface. This organism belongs to an adaptable and persistent genus of anaerobic microorganisms found in many environments worldwide. The effects of desiccation, low pressure, ionizing radiation, varying temperature, osmotic pressure, and oxidizing chemical compounds were investigated. The strain showed a high tolerance to desiccation, with a decline in survivability by four orders of magnitude during a storage time of 85 days. Exposure to X-rays resulted in dose-dependent inactivation for exposure up to 600 Gy while applied doses above 750 Gy led to complete inactivation. The effects of the combination of desiccation and irradiation were additive and the survivability was influenced by the order in which they were imposed. Ionizing irradiation and subsequent desiccation was more deleterious than vice versa. By contrast, the presence of perchlorates was not found to significantly affect the survival of the Yersinia strain after ionizing radiation. These data show that the organism has the capacity to survive and grow in physical and chemical stresses, imposed individually or in combination that are associated with Martian environment. Eventually it lost its viability showing that many of the most adaptable anaerobic organisms on Earth would be killed on Mars today.

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