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Biogenic Metal Nanoparticles: A New Approach to Detect Life on Mars?

1
State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences, Macau University of Science and Technology, Avenida Wai Long, Taipa, Macau SAR, Hong Kong, China
2
Bioscience Institute, São Paulo State University (UNESP), São Vicente, SP 11380-972, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Life 2020, 10(3), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10030028
Received: 25 February 2020 / Revised: 13 March 2020 / Accepted: 19 March 2020 / Published: 20 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life on Mars)
Metal nanoparticles (MNPs) have been extensively studied. They can be produced via different methods (physical, chemical, or biogenic), but biogenic synthesis has become more relevant, mainly for being referred by many as eco-friendly and more advantageous than others. Biogenic MNPs have been largely used in a wide variety of applications, from industry, to agriculture, to health sectors, among others. Even though they are increasingly researched and used, there is still space for exploring further applications and increasing their functionality and our understanding of their synthesis process. Here, we provide an overview of MNPs and biogenic MNPs, and we analyze the potential application of their formation process to astrobiology and the detection of life on Mars and other worlds. According to current knowledge, we suggest that they can be used as potential biosignatures in extra-terrestrial samples. We present the advantages and disadvantages of this approach, suggest further research, and propose its potential use for the search for life in future space exploration. View Full-Text
Keywords: metal nanoparticles; biogenic synthesis; biosignatures; life detection; astrobiology metal nanoparticles; biogenic synthesis; biosignatures; life detection; astrobiology
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Simões, M.F.; Ottoni, C.A.; Antunes, A. Biogenic Metal Nanoparticles: A New Approach to Detect Life on Mars? Life 2020, 10, 28.

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