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Experimental methods for studying microbial survival in extraterrestrial environments.
Use of cyanobacteria for in-situ resource use in space applications
Alteration textures in terrestrial volcanic glass and the associated bacterial community
It is shown that phototrophs were not involved in the production of most alteration textures in the basaltic glass materials the authors examined, and the important role of mineralogy in controlling the type and abundance of alteration features is highlighted.
The effect of rock composition on cyanobacterial weathering of crystalline basalt and rhyolite
- K. Olsson-Francis, A. Simpson, D. Wolff-Boenisch, C. Cockell
- Geology, Environmental ScienceGeobiology
- 1 September 2012
It is shown that at conditions where weathering is favoured, biota can enhance the difference between low and high Si-rock weathering and likely have done since they evolved on the early Earth.
Carbon Fixation by Marine Ultrasmall Prokaryotes
The novel marine ultrasmall prokaryotes were demonstrated to collectively harbor the genes required for carbon fixation, in particular the “energetically efficient” dicarboxylate/4-hydroxybutyrate pathway and the 4-hydroxbutyrates pathway, suggesting that nano-organisms have a broader contribution to carbon fixation and cycling than currently assumed.
Exposure of phototrophs to 548 days in low Earth orbit: microbial selection pressures in outer space and on early earth
The results obtained from samples exposed to >200 nm UV demonstrate the potential for epilithic colonization of land masses during that time, but that UV radiation on anoxic planets can act as a strong selection pressure on surface-dwelling organisms.
Ultra-small microorganisms in the polyextreme conditions of the Dallol volcano, Northern Afar, Ethiopia
Evidence of life existing with these hot springs is reported for the first time and the results suggest the microorganisms can survive, and potential live, within this extreme environment, which has implications for understanding the limits of habitability on Earth and on (early) Mars.
Isolation of Novel Extreme-Tolerant Cyanobacteria from a Rock-Dwelling Microbial Community by Using Exposure to Low Earth Orbit
- K. Olsson-Francis, R. de la Torre, C. Cockell
- Environmental ScienceApplied and Environmental Microbiology
- 12 February 2010
These experiments show how extreme environmental conditions, including space, can be used to select for novel microorganisms, and improves the knowledge of environmental tolerances of extremophilic rock-dwelling cyanobacteria.
Microarray analysis of a microbe–mineral interaction
- K. Olsson-Francis, R. Van Houdt, M. Mergeay, N. Leys, C. Cockell
- Environmental ScienceGeobiology
- 1 December 2010
The mechanisms by which micro-organisms might have sequestered nutrients on the early Earth are elucidated to provide an explanation for the evolution of multiple heavy metal resistance genes long before the creation of contaminated industrial biotopes by human activity.
Experimental and Simulation Efforts in the Astrobiological Exploration of Exooceans
This chapter provides an overview of successful in situ, in silico, and in vitro experiments, which explore different regions of interest on icy moons, i.e. a potential plume, surface, icy shell, water and brines, hydrothermal vents, and the rocky core.