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Microorganisms 2018, 6(2), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms6020043

Effect of UVC Radiation on Hydrated and Desiccated Cultures of Slightly Halophilic and Non-Halophilic Methanogenic Archaea: Implications for Life on Mars

1
Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
2
Department of Biological Sciences, SCEN-601, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 30 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 12 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anaerobic Microorganisms in Mars)
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Abstract

Methanogens have been considered models for life on Mars for many years. In order to survive any exposure at the surface of Mars, methanogens would have to endure Martian UVC radiation. In this research, we irradiated hydrated and desiccated cultures of slightly halophilic Methanococcus maripaludis and non-halophilic Methanobacterium formicicum for various time intervals with UVC (254 nm) radiation. The survivability of the methanogens was determined by measuring methane concentrations in the headspace gas samples of culture tubes after re-inoculation of the methanogens into their growth-supporting media following exposure to UVC radiation. Hydrated M. maripaludis survived 24 h of UVC exposure, while in a desiccated condition they endured for 16 h. M. formicicum also survived UVC radiation for 24 h in a liquid state; however, in a desiccated condition, the survivability of M. formicicum was only 12 h. Some of the components of the growth media could have served as shielding agents that protected cells from damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Overall, these results suggest that limited exposure (12–24 h) to UVC radiation on the surface of Mars would not necessarily be a limiting factor for the survivability of M. maripaludis and M. formicicum. View Full-Text
Keywords: methanogens; Mars; UVC radiation; halophiles methanogens; Mars; UVC radiation; halophiles
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Sinha, N.; Kral, T.A. Effect of UVC Radiation on Hydrated and Desiccated Cultures of Slightly Halophilic and Non-Halophilic Methanogenic Archaea: Implications for Life on Mars. Microorganisms 2018, 6, 43.

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