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Main Title: A New Record for Microbial Perchlorate Tolerance: Fungal Growth in NaClO4 Brines and its Implications for Putative Life on Mars
Author(s): Heinz, Jacob
Krahn, Tim
Schulze-Makuch, Dirk
Type: Article
Language Code: en
Abstract: The habitability of Mars is strongly dependent on the availability of liquid water, which is essential for life as we know it. One of the few places where liquid water might be found on Mars is in liquid perchlorate brines that could form via deliquescence. As these concentrated perchlorate salt solutions do not occur on Earth as natural environments, it is necessary to investigate in lab experiments the potential of these brines to serve as a microbial habitat. Here, we report on the sodium perchlorate (NaClO4) tolerances for the halotolerant yeast Debaryomyces hansenii and the filamentous fungus Purpureocillium lilacinum. Microbial growth was determined visually, microscopically and via counting colony forming units (CFU). With the observed growth of D. hansenii in liquid growth medium containing 2.4 M NaClO4, we found by far the highest microbial perchlorate tolerance reported to date, more than twice as high as the record reported prior (for the bacterium Planococcus halocryophilus). It is plausible to assume that putative Martian microbes could adapt to even higher perchlorate concentrations due to their long exposure to these environments occurring naturally on Mars, which also increases the likelihood of microbial life thriving in the Martian brines.
Issue Date: 28-Apr-2020
Date Available: 17-Jun-2020
DDC Class: 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Subject(s): Mars
microbial growth
Sponsor/Funder: EC/H2020/339231/EU/Habitability of Martian Environments: Exploring the Physiological and Environmental Limits of Life/HOME
Journal Title: Life
Publisher: MDPI
Publisher Place: Basel
Volume: 10
Issue: 5
Article Number: 53
Publisher DOI: 10.3390/life10050053
EISSN: 2075-1729
Appears in Collections:Zentrum für Astronomie und Astrophysik » Publications

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