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Microorganisms 2015, 3(3), 518-534; doi:10.3390/microorganisms3030518

The Effects of Perchlorates on the Permafrost Methanogens: Implication for Autotrophic Life on Mars

1
Skryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, Russian Academy of Sciences, Prospect Nauki 5, Pushchino, Moscow, 142290, Russia
2
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, 252-5210, Japan
3
College of Agriculture, Tamagawa University, 6-1-1 Tamagawagakuen, Machida, Tokyo, 194-8610, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ricardo Amils and Elena González Toril
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 30 July 2015 / Accepted: 1 September 2015 / Published: 9 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extremophiles)
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Abstract

The terrestrial permafrost represents a range of possible cryogenic extraterrestrial ecosystems on Earth-like planets without obvious surface ice, such as Mars. The autotrophic and chemolithotrophic psychrotolerant methanogens are more likely than aerobes to function as a model for life forms that may exist in frozen subsurface environments on Mars, which has no free oxygen, inaccessible organic matter, and extremely low amounts of unfrozen water. Our research on the genesis of methane, its content and distribution in permafrost horizons of different ages and origin demonstrated the presence of methane in permanently frozen fine-grained sediments. Earlier, we isolated and described four strains of methanogenic archaea of Methanobacterium and Methanosarcina genera from samples of Pliocene and Holocene permafrost from Eastern Siberia. In this paper we study the effect of sodium and magnesium perchlorates on growth of permafrost and nonpermafrost methanogens, and present evidence that permafrost hydogenotrophic methanogens are more resistant to the chaotropic agent found in Martian soil. In this paper we study the effect of sodium and magnesium perchlorates on the growth of permafrost and nonpermafrost methanogens, and present evidence that permafrost hydogenotrophic methanogens are more resistant to the chaotropic agent found in Martian soil. Furthermore, as shown in the studies strain M2T M. arcticum, probably can use perchlorate anion as an electron acceptor in anaerobic methane oxidation. Earth’s subzero subsurface environments are the best approximation of environments on Mars, which is most likely to harbor methanogens; thus, a biochemical understanding of these pathways is expected to provide a basis for designing experiments to detect autotrophic methane-producing life forms on Mars. View Full-Text
Keywords: permafrost; Mars; methanogenic archaea; perchlorates permafrost; Mars; methanogenic archaea; perchlorates
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Shcherbakova, V.; Oshurkova, V.; Yoshimura, Y. The Effects of Perchlorates on the Permafrost Methanogens: Implication for Autotrophic Life on Mars. Microorganisms 2015, 3, 518-534.

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