The dry-heat resistance characteristics of spores of psychrophilic organisms isolated from soil samples from the Viking spacecraft assembly areas at Cape Kennedy Space Flight Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla., were studied. Spore suspensions were produced, and dry-heat D values were determined for the microorganisms that demonstrated growth or survival under a simulated Martian environment. The dry-heat tests were carried out by using the planchet-boat-hot plate system at 110 and 125 degrees C with an ambient relative humidity of 50% at 22 degrees C. The spores evaluated had a relatively low resistance to dry heat. D(110 degrees C) values ranged from 7.5 to 122 min, whereas the D(123 degrees C) values ranged from less than 1.0 to 9.8 min.
The effects of moisture and oxygen concentration on germination of Bacillus cereus and B. subtilis var. niger spores were investigated in a simulated Martian environment. Less moisture was required for germination than for vegetative growth of both organisms. A daily freeze-thaw cycle lowered moisture requirements for spore germination and vegetative growth of both organisms, as compared with a constant 35 C environment. Oxygen had a synergistic effect by lowing the moisture requirements for vegetative growth, and possibly germination, of both organisms. Oxygen was not required for spore germination of either organism, but was required for vegetative growth of B. subtilis and for sporulation of both organisms.
Survival of Bacillus subtilis var. globigii in a simulated Martian environment was demonstrated. Previous contact with the simulated Martian soil or atmosphere reduced germination or outgrowth of unheated spores, or both. Inoculation into simulated Martian soil and then flushing with a simulated Martian atmosphere were lethal to both vegetative cells and spores. After one diurnal temperature cycle (26 to -60 C), the majority of of cells present were spores. No further effect of the diurnal cycle on survival was noted in any of the experimental samples.
Most planetary protection research has concentrated on characterizing viable bioloads on spacecraft surfaces, developing techniques for bioload reduction prior to launch, and studying the effects of simulated martian environments on microbial survival. Little research has examined the persistence of biogenic signature molecules on spacecraft materials under simulated martian surface conditions. This study examined how endogenous adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) would persist on aluminum coupons under simulated martian conditions of 7.1 mbar, full-spectrum simulated martian radiation calibrated to 4 W m−2 of UV-C (200 to 280 nm), −10°C, and a Mars gas mix of CO2 (95.54%), N2 (2.7%), Ar (1.6%), O2 (0.13%), and H2O (0.03%). Cell or spore viabilities of Acinetobacter radioresistens, Bacillus pumilus, and B. subtilis were measured in minutes to hours, while high levels of endogenous ATP were recovered after exposures of up to 21 days. The dominant factor responsible for temporal reductions in viability and loss of ATP was the simulated Mars surface radiation; low pressure, low temperature, and the Mars gas composition exhibited only slight effects. The normal burst of endogenous ATP detected during spore germination in B. pumilus and B. subtilis was reduced by 1 or 2 orders of magnitude following, respectively, 8- or 30-min exposures to simulated martian conditions. The results support the conclusion that endogenous ATP will persist for time periods that are likely to extend beyond the nominal lengths of most surface missions on Mars, and planetary protection protocols prior to launch may require additional rigor to further reduce the presence and abundance of biosignature molecules on spacecraft surfaces.
Spacecraft-associated spores and four non-spore-forming bacterial isolates were prepared in Atacama Desert soil suspensions and tested both in solution and in a desiccated state to elucidate the shadowing effect of soil particulates on bacterial survival under simulated Martian atmospheric and UV irradiation conditions. All non-spore-forming cells that were prepared in nutrient-depleted, 0.2-μm-filtered desert soil (DSE) microcosms and desiccated for 75 days on aluminum died, whereas cells prepared similarly in 60-μm-filtered desert soil (DS) microcosms survived such conditions. Among the bacterial cells tested, Microbacterium schleiferi and Arthrobacter sp. exhibited elevated resistance to 254-nm UV irradiation (low-pressure Hg lamp), and their survival indices were comparable to those of DS- and DSE-associated Bacillus pumilus spores. Desiccated DSE-associated spores survived exposure to full Martian UV irradiation (200 to 400 nm) for 5 min and were only slightly affected by Martian atmospheric conditions in the absence of UV irradiation. Although prolonged UV irradiation (5 min to 12 h) killed substantial portions of the spores in DSE microcosms (∼5- to 6-log reduction with Martian UV irradiation), dramatic survival of spores was apparent in DS-spore microcosms. The survival of soil-associated wild-type spores under Martian conditions could have repercussions for forward contamination of extraterrestrial environments, especially Mars.
Spore-forming microbes recovered from spacecraft surfaces and assembly facilities were exposed to simulated Martian UV irradiation. The effects of UVA (315 to 400 nm), UVA+B (280 to 400 nm), and the full UV spectrum (200 to 400 nm) on the survival of microorganisms were studied at UV intensities expected to strike the surfaces of Mars. Microbial species isolated from the surfaces of several spacecraft, including Mars Odyssey, X-2000 (avionics), and the International Space Station, and their assembly facilities were identified using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Forty-three Bacillus spore lines were screened, and 19 isolates showed resistance to UVC irradiation (200 to 280 nm) after exposure to 1,000 J m−2 of UVC irradiation at 254 nm using a low-pressure mercury lamp. Spores of Bacillus species isolated from spacecraft-associated surfaces were more resistant than a standard dosimetric strain, Bacillus subtilis 168. In addition, the exposure time required for UVA+B irradiation to reduce the viable spore numbers by 90% was 35-fold longer than the exposure time required for the full UV spectrum to do this, confirming that UVC is the primary biocidal bandwidth. Among the Bacillus species tested, spores of a Bacillus pumilus strain showed the greatest resistance to all three UV bandwidths, as well as the total spectrum. The resistance to simulated Mars UV irradiation was strain specific; B. pumilus SAFR-032 exhibited greater resistance than all other strains tested. The isolation of organisms like B. pumilus SAFR-032 and the greater survival of this organism (sixfold) than of the standard dosimetric strains should be considered when the sanitation capabilities of UV irradiation are determined.
Packer, Elliot L. (University of California, Davis), John L. Ingraham, and Stanley Scher. Factors affecting the rate of killing of Escherichia coli by repeated freezing and thawing. J. Bacteriol. 89:718–724. 1965.—Repeated freezing and thawing of cultures of Escherichia coli grown in a minimal medium and frozen in the same medium without carbon source resulted in a linear decrease in the log of the number of surviving cells as a function of the number of freeze-thaw cycles. The slope of this curve, which can be determined accurately, is an index of susceptibility of a culture to death by freezing and thawing. The effect of the physiological state of the culture on the killing rate was determined. Contrary to previous reports, the phase of growth, the state of aerobiosis, and the density of the culture had no effect on the degree of susceptibility to death by freezing and thawing. However, presence of spent growth medium (a filtrate of a stationary culture) in the freezing medium protected cells against death by freezing and thawing. Protection by spent growth medium is effective at high dilutions (1:105), and is lost if spent growth medium is heated in the presence of alkali. It is suggested that the protection afforded by spent growth medium accounts for differences between our results and those reported in the literature.
Simulation of a heat process used in the terminal dry-heat decontamination of the Viking spacecraft is reported. Naturally occurring airborne bacterial spores were collected on Teflon ribbons in selected spacecraft assembly areas and subsequently subjected to dry heat. Thermal inactivation experiments were conducted at 105, 111.7, 120, 125, 130, and 135 degrees C with a moisture level of 1.2 mg of water per liter. Heat survivors were recovered at temperatures of 135 degrees C when a 30-h heating cycle was employed. Survivors were recovered from all cycles studied and randomly selected for identification. The naturally occurring spore population was reduced an average of 2.2 to 4.4 log cycles from 105 to 135 degrees C. Heating cycles of 5 and 15 h at temperature were compared with the standard 30-h cycle at 111.7, 120, and 125 degrees C. No significant differences in inactivation (alpha = 0.05) were observed between 111.7 and 120 degrees C. The 30-h cycle differs from the 5-and 15-h cycles at 125 degrees C. Thus, the heating cycle can be reduced if a small fraction (about 10-3 to 10-4) of very resistant spores can be tolerated.
Planetary quarantine requirements associated with the launch of two Viking spacecraft necessitated microbiological assessment during assembly and testing at Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. Samples were collected from selected surface of the Viking Lander Capsules (VLC), Orbiters, (VO), and Shrouds at predetermined intervals during assembly and testing. Approximately 7,000 samples were assayed. Levels of bacterial spores per square meter on the VLC-1 and VLC-2 were 1.6 x 10(2) and 9.7 x 10(1), respectively, prior to dry-heat sterilization. The ranges of aerobic mesophilic microorganisms detected on the VO-1 and VO-2 at various sampling events were 4.2 x 10(2) to 4.3 x 10(3) and 2.3 x 10(2) to 8.9 x 10(3)/m2, respectively. Approximately 1,300 colonies were picked from culture plates, identified, lypholipized, and stored for future reference. About 75% of all isolates were microorganisms considered indigenous to humans; the remaining isolates were associated with soil and dust in the environment. The percentage of microorganisms of human origin was consistent with results obtained with previous automated spacecraft but slightly lower than those observed for manned (Apollo) spacecraft.
Soluble material was obtained from sonically freed plasmodiae by three procedures. Two procedures, cryo-impacting and freeze-thawing, were evaluated for their ability to disrupt the parasites and release soluble material. The soluble materials obtained by these procedures were compared to materials washed from the surfaces of sonically freed parasites. Between 35 and 40% of the total parasite protein was solubilized by freeze-thawing or cryo-impacting. One cycle of freeze-thawing released nearly as much protein as could be released by this method, and additional cycles of freeze-thawing had little additional effect. Cryo-impacting solubilized only a small amount of protein in addition to that which was released by the cycle of freeze-thawing inherent in the procedure. Reductions in the packed cell volume of the material remaining after freeze-thawing or cryo-impacting indicate that the insoluble fragments are broken into smaller pieces as treatment is extended. Electron microscopy of 30-s cryo-impacted and three-times freeze-thawed parasites revealed membrane fragments similar in appearance. Patterns obtained by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the soluble material from freeze-thawed and cryo-impacted parasites were also similar, and approximately 13 protein bands were demonstrated. The material washed from the surfaces of the free parasites, on the other hand, resolved into only two to four major bands on the gel columns. In immunization studies, the soluble and insoluble fractions obtained by freeze-thawing or cryo-impacting and the material washed from the surfaces of the parasites all stimulated a protective immune response. On the basis of the amount of protein required to stimulate roughly comparable immunity, the soluble fraction obtained by freeze-thawing or cryo-impacting free parasites was about twice as potent an immunogen as was the insoluble fraction. The material obtained by gentle washing of the freed parasites was approximately 20 times as potent an immunogen as were the freed parasites and about 7 times as potent as the soluble material obtained by freeze-thawing or cryo-impacting.
The martian surface environment exhibits extremes of salinity, temperature, desiccation, and radiation that would make it difficult for terrestrial microbes to survive. Recent evidence suggests that martian soils contain high concentrations of MgSO4 minerals. Through warming of the soils, meltwater derived from subterranean ice-rich regolith may exist for an extended period of time and thus allow the propagation of terrestrial microbes and create significant bioburden at the near surface of Mars. The current report demonstrates that halotolerant bacteria from the Great Salt Plains (GSP) of Oklahoma are capable of growing at high concentrations of MgSO4 in the form of 2 M solutions of epsomite. The epsotolerance of isolates in the GSP bacterial collection was determined, with 35% growing at 2 M MgSO4. There was a complex physiological response to mixtures of MgSO4 and NaCl coupled with other environmental stressors. Growth also was measured at 1 M concentrations of other magnesium and sulfate salts. The complex responses may be partially explained by the pattern of chaotropicity observed for high-salt solutions as measured by agar gelation temperature. Select isolates could grow at the high salt concentrations and low temperatures found on Mars. Survival during repetitive freeze-thaw or drying-rewetting cycles was used as other measures of potential success on the martian surface. Our results indicate that terrestrial microbes might survive under the high-salt, low-temperature, anaerobic conditions on Mars and present significant potential for forward contamination. Stringent planetary protection requirements are needed for future life-detection missions to Mars. Key Words: Analogue—Mars—Planetary protection—Salts—Life in extreme environments. Astrobiology 12, 98–106.
The isolation of viable extremely halophilic archaea from 250-million-year-old rock salt suggests the possibility of their long-term survival under desiccation. Since halite has been found on Mars and in meteorites, haloarchaeal survival of martian surface conditions is being explored. Halococcus dombrowskii H4 DSM 14522T was exposed to UV doses over a wavelength range of 200–400 nm to simulate martian UV flux. Cells embedded in a thin layer of laboratory-grown halite were found to accumulate preferentially within fluid inclusions. Survival was assessed by staining with the LIVE/DEAD kit dyes, determining colony-forming units, and using growth tests. Halite-embedded cells showed no loss of viability after exposure to about 21 kJ/m2, and they resumed growth in liquid medium with lag phases of 12 days or more after exposure up to 148 kJ/m2. The estimated D37 (dose of 37 % survival) for Hcc. dombrowskii was ≥ 400 kJ/m2. However, exposure of cells to UV flux while in liquid culture reduced D37 by 2 orders of magnitude (to about 1 kJ/m2); similar results were obtained with Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1 and Haloarcula japonica. The absorption of incoming light of shorter wavelength by color centers resulting from defects in the halite crystal structure likely contributed to these results. Under natural conditions, haloarchaeal cells become embedded in salt upon evaporation; therefore, dispersal of potential microscopic life within small crystals, perhaps in dust, on the surface of Mars could resist damage by UV radiation.
Halococcus dombrowskii; Simulated martian UV radiation; LIVE/DEAD staining; Halite fluid inclusions; UV transmittance and reflectance; Desiccation
Escherichia coli and Serratia liquefaciens, two bacterial spacecraft contaminants known to replicate under low atmospheric pressures of 2.5 kPa, were tested for growth and survival under simulated Mars conditions. Environmental stresses of high salinity, low temperature, and low pressure were screened alone and in combination for effects on bacterial survival and replication, and then cells were tested in Mars analog soils under simulated Mars conditions. Survival and replication of E. coli and S. liquefaciens cells in liquid medium were evaluated for 7 days under low temperatures (5, 10, 20, or 30°C) with increasing concentrations (0, 5, 10, or 20%) of three salts (MgCl2, MgSO4, NaCl) reported to be present on the surface of Mars. Moderate to high growth rates were observed for E. coli and S. liquefaciens at 30 or 20°C and in solutions with 0 or 5% salts. In contrast, cell densities of both species generally did not increase above initial inoculum levels under the highest salt concentrations (10 and 20%) and the four temperatures tested, with the exception that moderately higher cell densities were observed for both species at 10% MgSO4 maintained at 20 or 30°C. Growth rates of E. coli and S. liquefaciens in low salt concentrations were robust under all pressures (2.5, 10, or 101.3 kPa), exhibiting a general increase of up to 2.5 orders of magnitude above the initial inoculum levels of the assays. Vegetative E. coli cells were maintained in a Mars analog soil for 7 days under simulated Mars conditions that included temperatures between 20 and −50°C for a day/night diurnal period, UVC irradiation (200 to 280 nm) at 3.6 W m−2 for daytime operations (8 h), pressures held at a constant 0.71 kPa, and a gas composition that included the top five gases found in the martian atmosphere. Cell densities of E. coli failed to increase under simulated Mars conditions, and survival was reduced 1 to 2 orders of magnitude by the interactive effects of desiccation, UV irradiation, high salinity, and low pressure (in decreasing order of importance). Results suggest that E. coli may be able to survive, but not grow, in surficial soils on Mars.
The ability of cells to survive freezing and thawing is expected to depend on the physiological conditions experienced prior to freezing. We examined factors affecting yeast cell survival during freeze-thaw stress, including those associated with growth phase, requirement for mitochondrial functions, and prior stress treatment(s), and the role played by relevant signal transduction pathways. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was frozen at -20 degrees C for 2 h (cooling rate, less than 4 degrees C min-1) and thawed on ice for 40 min. Supercooling occurred without reducing cell survival and was followed by freezing. Loss of viability was proportional to the freezing duration, indicating that freezing is the main determinant of freeze-thaw damage. Regardless of the carbon source used, the wild-type strain and an isogenic petite mutant ([rho 0]) showed the same pattern of freeze-thaw tolerance throughout growth, i.e., high resistance during lag phase and low resistance during log phase, indicating that the response to freeze-thaw stress is growth phase specific and not controlled by glucose repression. In addition, respiratory ability and functional mitochondria are necessary to confer full resistance to freeze-thaw stress. Both nitrogen and carbon source starvation led to freeze-thaw tolerance. The use of strains affected in the RAS-cyclic AMP (RAS-cAMP) pathway or supplementation of an rca1 mutant (defective in the cAMP phosphodiesterase gene) with cAMP showed that the freeze-thaw response of yeast is under the control of the RAS-cAMP pathway. Yeast did not adapt to freeze-thaw stress following repeated freeze-thaw treatment with or without a recovery period between freeze-thaw cycles, nor could it adapt following pretreatment by cold shock. However, freeze-thaw tolerance of yeast cells was induced during fermentative and respiratory growth by pretreatment with H2O2, cycloheximide, mild heat shock, or NaCl, indicating that cross protection between freeze-thaw stress and a limited number of other types of stress exists.
The present study evaluates freeze thaw as a simple approach for screening the most appropriate cryoprotectant. Freeze–thaw study is based on the principle that an excipient, which protects nanoparticles during the first step of freezing, is likely to be an effective cryoprotectant. Nanoparticles of rifampicin with high entrapment efficiency were prepared by the emulsion-solvent diffusion method using dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (AOT) as complexing agent and Gantrez AN-119 as polymer. Freeze–thaw study was carried out using trehalose and fructose as cryoprotectants. The concentration of cryoprotectant, concentration of nanoparticles in the dispersion, and the freezing temperature were varied during the freeze–thaw study. Cryoprotection increased with increase in cryoprotectant concentration. Further, trehalose was superior to fructose at equivalent concentrations and moreover permitted use of more concentrated nanosuspensions for freeze drying. Freezing temperature did not influence the freeze–thaw study. Freeze-dried nanoparticles revealed good redispersibility with a size increase that correlated well with the freeze–thaw study at 20% w/v trehalose and fructose. Transmission electron microscopy revealed round particles with a size ∼400 nm, which correlated with photon correlation spectroscopic measurements. Differential scanning calorimetry and X-ray diffraction suggested amorphization of rifampicin. Fourier transfer infrared spectroscopy could not confirm interaction of drug with AOT. Nanoparticles exhibited sustained release of rifampicin, which followed diffusion kinetics. Nanoparticles of rifampicin were found to be stable for 12 months. The good correlation between freeze thaw and freeze drying suggests freeze–thaw study as a simple and quick approach for screening optimal cryoprotectant for freeze drying.
cryoprotectants; freeze drying; freeze thaw; nanoparticles; rifampicin
The repeated freeze-thaw events during cold season, freezing of soils in autumn and thawing in spring are typical for the tundra, boreal, and temperate soils. The thawing of soils during winter-summer transitions induces the release of decomposable organic carbon and acceleration of soil respiration. The winter-spring fluxes of CO2 from permanently and seasonally frozen soils are essential part of annual carbon budget varying from 5 to 50%. The mechanisms of the freeze-thaw activation are not absolutely clear and need clarifying. We investigated the effect of repeated freezing-thawing events on CO2 emission from intact arable and forest soils (Luvisols, loamy silt; Central Germany) at different moisture (65% and 100% of WHC).
Due to the measurement of the CO2 flux in two hours intervals, the dynamics of CO2 emission during freezing-thawing events was described in a detailed way. At +10°C (initial level) in soils investigated, carbon dioxide emission varied between 7.4 to 43.8 mg C m-2h-1 depending on land use and moisture. CO2 flux from the totally frozen soil never reached zero and amounted to 5 to 20% of the initial level, indicating that microbial community was still active at -5°C. Significant burst of CO2 emission (1.2–1.7-fold increase depending on moisture and land use) was observed during thawing. There was close linear correlation between CO2 emission and soil temperature (R2 = 0.86–0.97, P < 0.001).
Our investigations showed that soil moisture and land use governed the initial rate of soil respiration, duration of freezing and thawing of soil, pattern of CO2 dynamics and extra CO2 fluxes. As a rule, the emissions of CO2 induced by freezing-thawing were more significant in dry soils and during the first freezing-thawing cycle (FTC). The acceleration of CO2 emission was caused by different processes: the liberation of nutrients upon the soil freezing, biological activity occurring in unfrozen water films, and respiration of cold-adapted microflora.
There is sparse information about specific storage and handling protocols that minimize analytical error and variability in samples evaluated by targeted metabolomics. Variance components that affect quantitative lipid analysis in a set of human serum samples were determined. The effects of freeze-thaw, extraction state, storage temperature, and freeze-thaw prior to density-based lipoprotein fractionation were quantified. The quantification of high abundance metabolites, representing the biologically relevant lipid species in humans, was highly repeatable (with coefficients of variation as low as 0.01 and 0.02) and largely unaffected by 1–3 freeze-thaw cycles (with 0–8% of metabolites affected in each lipid class). Extraction state had effects on total lipid class amounts, including decreased diacylglycerol and increased phosphatidylethanolamine in thawed compared with frozen samples. The effects of storage temperature over 1 week were minimal, with 0–4% of metabolites affected by storage at 4°C, −20°C, or −80°C in most lipid classes, and 19% of metabolites in diacylglycerol affected by storage at −20°C. Freezing prior to lipoprotein fractionation by density ultracentrifugation decreased HDL free cholesterol by 37% and VLDL free fatty acid by 36%, and increased LDL cholesterol ester by 35% compared with fresh samples. These findings suggest that density-based fractionation should preferably be undertaken in fresh serum samples because up to 37% variability in HDL and LDL cholesterol could result from a single freeze-thaw cycle. Conversely, quantitative lipid analysis within unfractionated serum is minimally affected even with repeated freeze-thaw cycles.
Metabolomics; Lipoprotein separation; Freeze-thaw; Targeted metabolomic lipid analysis; Effects of sample handling on analytical accuracy
A family of mutants of Salmonella typhimurium with altered lipopolysaccharide (LPS) core chain lengths were assessed for sensitivity to freeze-thaw and other stresses. Deep rough strains with decreased chain length in the LPS core were more susceptible to novobiocin, polymyxin B, bacitracin, and sodium lauryl sulfate during growth, to ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and sodium lauryl sulfate in resting suspension, and to slow and rapid freeze-thaw in water and saline, and these strains exhibited more outer membrane damage than the wild type or less rough strains. Variations in the LPS chain length did not dramatically affect the sensitivity of the strains to tetracycline, neomycin, or NaCl in growth conditions or the degree of freeze-thaw-induced cytoplasmic membrane damage. The deeper rough isogenic strains incorporated larger quantities of less-stable LPS and less protein into the outer membrane than did the wild type or less rough mutants, indicating that the mutations affected outer membrane synthesis or organization or both. Nikaido's model of the role of LPS and protein in determining the resistance of gram-negative bacteria to low-molecular-weight hydrophobic antibiotics is discussed in relation to the stress of freeze-thaw.
The freeze-thaw tolerance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was examined throughout growth in aerobic batch culture. Minimum tolerance to rapid freezing (immersion in liquid nitrogen; cooling rate, approximately 200 degrees C min-1) was associated with respirofermentative (exponential) growth on glucose. However, maximum tolerance occurred not during the stationary phase but during active respiratory growth on ethanol accumulated during respirofermentative growth on glucose. The peak in tolerance occurred several hours after entry into the respiratory growth phase and did not correspond to a transient accumulation of trehalose which occurred at the point of glucose exhaustion. Substitution of ethanol with other carbon sources which permit high levels of respiration (acetate and galactose) also induced high freeze-thaw tolerance, and the peak did not occur in cells shifted directly from fermentative growth to starvation conditions or in two respiratorily incompetent mutants. These results imply a direct link with respiration, rather than exhaustion of glucose. The role of ethanol as a cryoprotectant per se was also investigated, and under conditions of rapid freezing (cooling rate, approximately 200 degrees C min-1), ethanol demonstrated a significant cryoprotective effect. Under the same freezing conditions, glycerol had little effect at high concentrations and acted as a cryosensitizer at low concentrations. Conversely, under slow-freezing conditions (step freezing at -20, -70, and then -196 degrees C; initial cooling rate, approximately 3 degrees C min-1), glycerol acted as a cryoprotectant while ethanol lost this ability. Ethanol may thus have two effects on the cryotolerance of baker's yeast, as a respirable carbon source and as a cryoprotectant under rapid-freezing conditions.
The infectivity titre of influenza virus-infected allantoic fluid was determined after a variety of procedures involving cyclic slow freezing and thawing, freezing at various rates with subsequent storage at different temperatures freezing at various rates with subsequent dehydration at various temperatures, and different degrees of dehydration. All these factors were found to influence the survival rate of the virus particles. Five freeze-thaw cycles resulted in a fall in titre from 10–8.6 to 10–0.8 cycles 2, 3, and 4 causing much greater losses than cycles 1 and 5. Rapid cooling to –40°C. or slow cooling to –80 or 190°C. did not cause significant titre loss, but rapid cooling to temperatures above –40° or slow cooling to temperatures above –80°C. caused definite titre loss. Loss of titre on storage occurred only at temperatures above –40deg;C. The effect of lyophilization depends both on the preliminary treatment and on the dehydration temperature. Better conservation of titre was obtained after preliminary cooling to –190 or –80°C. than after preliminary cooling to higher temperatures. The most effective sublimation temperatures were 0 and –80°.; the least effective was +20°C. Titre losses in suspensions sublimated at –10, –30, and –60°C. were in general intermediate. No loss in titre occurred after preliminary cooling to –80 or –190°C. and subsequent dehydration at –80 or 0°C. The degree of dehydration definitely affects the survival of virus on storage at 0°C., but sublimation for 4 hours at 0°C. gave complete protection against titre loss on storage at this temperature. Possible explanations of the observations made are suggested, based on known physiochemical phenomena such as supercooling, vitrification, variations in size and shape of ice crystals with different freezing speeds, differential enzyme inactivation, changes in salt concentration, and changes in energy levels.
Spleen lymphocytes of BCG-immunized mice contain a soluble factor that inhibits in vitro the growth of the H37Rv strain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis within normal peritoneal macrophages. The water-soluble extracts of sensitized lymphocytes, disrupted by freezing and thawing, although less active than the corresponding viable cells retained a significant growth-inhibiting activity. Dialysis against distilled water, lyophilization, exposure to ribonuclease and deoxyribonuclease, and storage at -20 degrees C of the water-soluble extracts did not affect their antimycobacterial activity, whereas extracts heated at 100 degrees C were completely devoid of such an activity. All the inhibiting activity was recovered in the void volume of the column after chromatography on Sephadex G-200. Water-soluble constitutents of sensitized lymphocytes did not affect BCG grown in vitro, and on repeated treatments of tuberculous mice they led to a negligible protection against pulmonary tuberculosis. Preliminary observations seem to indicate that other soluble factors in lymphocytes of BCG-sensitized mice have the capacity to potentiate in vitro the phagocytic activity of normal macrophages.
One of the goals of the present Martian exploration is to search for evidence of extinct (or even extant) life. This could be redefined as a search for carbon. The carbon cycle (or, more properly, cycles) on Earth is a complex interaction among three reservoirs: the atmosphere; the hydrosphere; and the lithosphere. Superimposed on this is the biosphere, and its presence influences the fixing and release of carbon in these reservoirs over different time-scales. The overall carbon balance is kept at equilibrium on the surface by a combination of tectonic processes (which bury carbon), volcanism (which releases it) and biology (which mediates it). In contrast to Earth, Mars presently has no active tectonic system; neither does it possess a significant biosphere. However, these observations might not necessarily have held in the past. By looking at how Earth's carbon cycles have changed with time, as both the Earth's tectonic structure and a more sophisticated biology have evolved, and also by constructing a carbon cycle for Mars based on the carbon chemistry of Martian meteorites, we investigate whether or not there is evidence for a Martian biosphere.
Earth; Mars; carbon; cycle; life
The food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes can grow in a wide range of temperatures, and several key virulence determinants of the organism are expressed at 37°C but are strongly repressed below 30°C. However, the impact of growth temperature on the ability of the bacteria to tolerate environmental stresses remains poorly understood. In other microorganisms, cold acclimation resulted in enhanced tolerance against freezing and thawing (cryotolerance). In this study, we investigated the impact of growth temperature (4, 25, and 37°C) on the cryotolerance of 14 strains of L. monocytogenes from outbreaks and from food processing plant environments and four strains of nonpathogenic Listeria spp. (L. welshimeri and L. innocua). After growth at different temperatures, cells were frozen at −20°C, and repeated freeze-thaw cycles were applied every 24 h. Pronounced cryotolerance was exhibited by cells grown at 37°C, with a <1-log decrease after 18 cycles of freezing and thawing. In contrast, freeze-thaw tolerance was significantly reduced (P < 0.05) when bacteria were grown at either 4 or 25°C, with log decreases after 18 freeze-thaw cycles ranging from 2 to >4, depending on the strain. These findings suggest that growth at 37°C, a temperature required for expression of virulence determinants of L. monocytogenes, is also required for protection against freeze-thaw stress. The negative impact of growth at low temperature on freeze-thaw stress was unexpected and has not been reported before with this or other psychrotrophic microorganisms.
Studies were conducted on the interaction of various parameters which affect the storage stability and growth potential of liquid cultures of Pasteurella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) and Rift Valley fever virus Van Wyk strain (RVFV). Storage variables studied with LVS included four storage temperatures (4, -20, -65, -175 C), single and multiple freeze-thaw cycles, two freezing and two thawing rates (slow and fast), various inoculum levels (1, 3, 5, and 10%) for the determination of growth potential, and the retention of immunizing potential (mice and guinea pig) after storage. Neither the freezing rate nor the number of freeze-thaw cycles seriously affected the growth of LVS after storage at -175C; however, the slow rate of thaw proved deleterious as were all temperatures of storage except -175 C after 1 year of storage, as shown by both criteria of evaluation. RVFV produced in two combinations of cell lines and media (LM cell line-199 peptone medium and LDR cell line-Eagle's minimum essential medium) was stored at three serum levels (10, 20, 40%), three pH values (6.2., 7.0, 7.8), and three temperatures (-20, -65, -175 C). These studies indicated: (i) virus produced in the LDR cell line and Eagle's medium was more stable than that produced in the LM cell line and 199 peptone medium for either short- or long-term storage; (ii) serum levels did not affect stability; and (iii) low pH resulted in losses during long-term storage under all conditions tested. Thus, cryogenic storage is advantageous for stock culture maintenance of bacteria and viruses and for other similar applications.
Monitoring wildlife diseases is needed to identify changes in disease occurrence. Wildlife blood samples are valuable for this purpose but are often gathered haemolysed. To maximise information, sera often go through repeated analysis and freeze-thaw cycles. Herein, we used samples of clean and haemolysed Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) serum stored at -20°C and thawed up to five times to study the effects of both treatments on the outcome of a commercial ELISA test for the detection of antibodies against Suid Herpesvirus 1 (ADV).
The estimated prevalence of antibodies against ADV was 50-53% for clean and haemolysed sera. Hence, haemolysis did not reduce the mean observed serum antibody prevalence. However, 10 samples changed their classification after repeated freeze-thawing. This included 3 (15%) of the clean sera and 7 (41%) of the haemolysed sera.
We recommend (1) establishing more restrictive cut-off values when testing wildlife sera, (2) recording serum quality prior to sample banking, (3) recording the number of freezing-thawing cycles and (4) store sera in various aliquots to reduce repeated usage. For instance, sera with more than 3 freeze-thaw cycles and a haemolysis of over 3 on a scale of 4 should better be discarded for serum antibody monitoring. Even clean (almost not haemolysed) sera should not go through more than 5 freeze-thaw cycles.
Aujeszky's disease; Blood sample mishandling; Serological surveillance; Wildlife disease monitoring