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Laser spectroscopic real time measurements of methanogenic activity under simulated Martian subsurface analog conditions

  • On Earth, chemolithoautothrophic and anaerobic microorganisms such as methanogenic archaea are regarded as model organisms for possible subsurface life on Mars. For this reason, the methanogenic strain Methanosarcina soligelidi (formerly called Methanosarcina spec. SMA-21), isolated from permafrost-affected soil in northeast Siberia, has been tested under Martian thermo-physical conditions. In previous studies under simulated Martian conditions, high survival rates of these microorganisms were observed. In our study we present a method to measure methane production as a first attempt to study metabolic activity of methanogenic archaea during simulated conditions approaching conditions of Mars-like environments. To determine methanogenic activity, a measurement technique which is capable to measure the produced methane concentration with high precision and with high temporal resolution is needed. Although there are several methods to detect methane, only a few fulfill all the needed requirements to work within simulatedOn Earth, chemolithoautothrophic and anaerobic microorganisms such as methanogenic archaea are regarded as model organisms for possible subsurface life on Mars. For this reason, the methanogenic strain Methanosarcina soligelidi (formerly called Methanosarcina spec. SMA-21), isolated from permafrost-affected soil in northeast Siberia, has been tested under Martian thermo-physical conditions. In previous studies under simulated Martian conditions, high survival rates of these microorganisms were observed. In our study we present a method to measure methane production as a first attempt to study metabolic activity of methanogenic archaea during simulated conditions approaching conditions of Mars-like environments. To determine methanogenic activity, a measurement technique which is capable to measure the produced methane concentration with high precision and with high temporal resolution is needed. Although there are several methods to detect methane, only a few fulfill all the needed requirements to work within simulated extraterrestrial environments. We have chosen laser spectroscopy, which is a non-destructive technique that measures the methane concentration without sample taking and also can be run continuously. In our simulation, we detected methane production at temperatures down to -5 degrees C, which would be found on Mars either temporarily in the shallow subsurface or continually in the deep subsurface. The pressure of 50 kPa which we used in our experiments, corresponds to the expected pressure in the Martian near subsurface. Our new device proved to be fully functional and the results indicate that the possible existence of methanogenic archaea in Martian subsurface habitats cannot be ruled out. (C) 2013 Published by Elsevier Ltd.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Janosch Schirmack, Michael Boehm, Chris Brauer, Hans-Gerd LöhmannsröbenGND, Jean-Pierre de Vera, Diedrich Moehlmann, Dirk WagnerORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pss.2013.08.019
ISSN:0032-0633 (print)
Parent Title (English):Planetary and space science
Publisher:Elsevier
Place of publication:Oxford
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2014
Year of Completion:2014
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Mars; Methane; Methanogens; Sub-zero temperature (Celsius); Wavelength modulation spectroscopy (laser spectroscopy)
Volume:98
Pagenumber:7
First Page:198
Last Page:204
Funder:Helmholtz Association
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Chemie
Peer Review:Referiert