The Impact of Space Flight on Survival and Interaction of Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34 with Basalt, a Volcanic Moon Analog Rock

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  • UGent - Universiteit Gent

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Abstract

Microbe-mineral interactions have become of interest for space exploration as microorganisms could be used to biomine from extra-terrestrial material and extract elements useful as micronutrients in life support systems. This research aimed to identify the impact of space flight on the long-term survival of Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34 in mineral water and the interaction with basalt, a lunar-type rock in preparation for the ESA spaceflight experiment, BIOROCK. Therefore, C. metallidurans CH34 cells were suspended in mineral water supplemented with or without crushed basalt and send for 3 months on board the Russian FOTON-M4 capsule. Long-term storage had a significant impact on cell physiology and energy status (by flow cytometry analysis, plate count and intracellular ATP measurements) as 60% of cells stored on ground lost their cell membrane potential, only 17% were still active, average ATP levels per cell were significantly lower and cultivability dropped to 1%. The cells stored in the presence of basalt and exposed to space flight conditions during storage however showed less dramatic changes in physiology, with only 16% of the cells lost their cell membrane potential and 24% were still active, leading to a higher cultivability (50%) and indicating a general positive effect of basalt and space flight on survival. Microbe-mineral interactions and biofilm formation was altered by spaceflight as less biofilm was formed on the basalt during flight conditions. Leaching from basalt also changed (measured with ICP-OES), showing that cells release more copper from basalt and the presence of cells also impacted iron and magnesium concentration irrespective of the presence of basalt. The flight conditions thus could counteract some of the detrimental effects observed after the 3 month storage conditions.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number671
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Micro-mineral interactions, Space Flight, Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34, Basalt, FOTON

ID: 4086340