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 bacteria are of particular concern in the context of planetary protection because their tough endospores may withstand certain sterilization procedures as well as the harsh environments of outer space or planetary surfaces. To test their hardiness on a hypothetical mission to Mars, spores of Bacillus subtilis 168 and Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032 were exposed for 1.5 years to selected parameters of space in the experiment PROTECT during the EXPOSE-E mission on board the International Space Station. Mounted as dry layers on spacecraft-qualified aluminum coupons, the “trip to Mars” spores experienced space vacuum, cosmic and extraterrestrial solar radiation, and temperature fluctuations, whereas the “stay on Mars” spores were subjected to a simulated martian environment that included atmospheric pressure and composition, and UV and cosmic radiation. The survival of spores from both assays was determined after retrieval. It was clearly shown that solar extraterrestrial UV radiation (λ≥110 nm) as well as the martian UV spectrum (λ≥200 nm) was the most deleterious factor applied; in some samples only a few survivors were recovered from spores exposed in monolayers. Spores in multilayers survived better by several orders of magnitude. All other environmental parameters encountered by the “trip to Mars” or “stay on Mars” spores did little harm to the spores, which showed about 50% survival or more. The data demonstrate the high chance of survival of spores on a Mars mission, if protected against solar irradiation. These results will have implications for planetary protection considerations. Key Words: Planetary protection—Bacterial spores—Space experiment—Simulated Mars mission. Astrobiology 12, 445–456.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
In this study, we compared the effects of repeated freezing/thawing of human sperm by our in-house method of rapid freezing with slow programmable freezing. Sperm samples from 11 normozoospermic subjects were processed through density gradients and divided into three aliquots: non-frozen, rapid freezing and slow programmable freezing. Sperm in the rapid freezing group had better motility and viability than those in the slow freezing group (P<0.01) after the first, second and third cycles of freezing/thawing, but there was no difference in morphology. In the second experiment, rapid freezing was repeated three times in 20 subjects. The samples from each thawing cycle were evaluated for DNA fragmentation using the alkaline comet assay. DNA fragmentation began to increase considerably after the second cycle of freezing/thawing, but to a level that was not clinically important. In the third experiment, rapid freezing was done repeatedly in 10 subjects, until no motile sperm were observed after thawing. The median number of repeated freezing/thawing that yielded no motile sperm was seven (range: 5–8, mean: 6.8). In conclusion, we demonstrated that repeated freezing/thawing of processed semen using our rapid freezing method gave better results than standard slow programmable freezing. This method can help maximize the usage of precious cryopreserved sperm samples in assisted reproduction technology.
comet assay; cryopreservation; DNA fragmentation; repeated freezing; sperm
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.
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.
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.
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.
Current 2010 terrestrial (1Gz) CPR guidelines have been advocated by space agencies for hypogravity and microgravity environments, but may not be feasible. The aims of this study were to (1) evaluate rescuer performance over 1.5 min of external chest compressions (ECCs) during simulated Martian hypogravity (0.38Gz) and microgravity (μG) in relation to 1Gz and rest baseline and (2) compare the physiological costs of conducting ECCs in accordance with the 2010 and 2005 CPR guidelines.
Thirty healthy male volunteers, ranging from 17 to 30 years, performed four sets of 30 ECCs for 1.5 min using the 2010 and 2005 ECC guidelines during 1Gz, 0.38Gz and μG simulations (Evetts-Russomano (ER) method), achieved by the use of a body suspension device. ECC depth and rate, range of elbow flexion, post-ECC heart rate (HR), minute ventilation (VE), peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured.
All volunteers completed the study. Mean ECC rate was achieved for all gravitational conditions, but true depth during simulated microgravity was not sufficient for the 2005 (28.5 ± 7.0 mm) and 2010 (32.9 ± 8.7 mm) guidelines, even with a mean range of elbow flexion of 15°. HR, VE and VO2peak increased to an average of 136 ± 22 bpm, 37.5 ± 10.3 L·min−1, 20.5 ± 7.6 mL·kg−1·min−1 for 0.38Gz and 161 ± 19 bpm, 58.1 ± 15.0 L·min−1, 24.1 ± 5.6 mL·kg−1·min−1 for μG from a baseline of 84 ± 15 bpm, 11.4 ± 5.9 L·min−1, 3.2 ± 1.1 mL·kg−1·min-1, respectively. RPE was the only variable to increase with the 2010 guidelines.
No additional physiological cost using the 2010 basic life support (BLS) guidelines was needed for healthy males performing ECCs for 1.5 min, independent of gravitational environment. This cost, however, increased for each condition tested when the two guidelines were compared. Effective ECCs were not achievable for both guidelines in simulated μG using the ER BLS method. This suggests that future implementation of an ER BLS in a simulated μG instruction programme as well as upper arm strength training is required to perform effective BLS in space.
Basic life support; CPR guidelines; Hypogravity; Microgravity
Spores of wild-type and mutant Bacillus subtilis strains lacking various structural components were exposed to simulated Martian atmospheric and UV irradiation conditions. Spore survival and mutagenesis were strongly dependent on the functionality of all of the structural components, with small acid-soluble spore proteins, coat layers, and dipicolinic acid as key protectants.
Recent spacecraft and lander missions to Mars have reinforced previous interpretations that Mars was a wet and warm planet in the geological past. The role of liquid water in shaping many of the surface features on Mars has long been recognized. Since the presence of liquid water is essential for survival of life, conditions on early Mars might have been more favourable for the emergence and evolution of life. Until a sample return mission to Mars, one of the ways of studying the past environmental conditions on Mars is through chemical and isotopic studies of Martian meteorites. Over 35 individual meteorite samples, believed to have originated on Mars, are now available for lab-based studies. Fe is a key element that is present in both primary and secondary minerals in the Martian meteorites. Fe-isotope ratios can be fractionated by low-temperature processes which includes biological activity. Experimental investigations of Fe reduction and oxidation by bacteria have produced large fractionation in Fe-isotope ratios. Hence, it is considered likely that if there is/were any form of life present on Mars then it might be possible to detect its signature by Fe-isotope studies of Martian meteorites. In the present study, we have analysed a number of Martian meteorites for their bulk-Fe-isotope composition. In addition, a set of terrestrial analogue material has also been analysed to compare the results and draw inferences. So far, our studies have not found any measurable Fe-isotopic fractionation in bulk Martian meteorites that can be ascribed to any low-temperature process operative on Mars.
Mars; Martian meteorites; SNC; terrestrial analogues; iron isotopes; life
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.
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
The increasing availability of rodent models of human cardiovascular disease has led to a need to translate noninvasive imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from the clinic to the animal laboratory. The aim of this study was to develop phantoms simulating the short-axis view of left ventricular motion of rats and mice, thus reducing the need for live animals in the development of MRI.
Cylindrical phantoms were moulded from polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) Cryogel and attached via stiff water-filled tubing to a gear pump. Pulsatile distension of the phantoms was effected by suitable programming of the pump. Cine MRI scanning was carried out at 7 T and compared with in vivo rodent cardiac imaging.
Suitable pulsatile performance was achieved with phantoms for which the PVA material had been subjected to two freeze–thaw cycles, resulting in T1 and T2 relaxation time constants of 1656±124 ms and 55±10 ms, respectively. For the rat phantom operating at 240 beats per min (bpm), the dynamic range of the outer diameter was from 10.3 to 12.4 mm with the wall thickness varying between 1.9 and 1.2 mm. Corresponding figures for the mouse phantom at 480 bpm were outer diameter range from 5.4 to 6.4 mm and wall thickness from 1.5 to 1.2 mm.
Dynamic cardiac phantoms simulating rodent left ventricular motion in the short-axis view were successfully developed and compared with in vivo imaging. The phantoms can be used for future development work with reduced need of live animals.
Cardiac phantom; PVA cryogel; Gating; Cardiac MRI; Mouse; Rat
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
Freeze-thaw lysates prepared from strains of Escherichia coli belonging to serogroups O138, O139, and O141 contained a principle (edema disease principle) which induced edema disease in swine. All freeze-thaw lysates contained endotoxic activity that tended to obscure the edema disease syndrome and methods were developed to reduce such activity. Freeze-thaw lysates prepared from E. coli O139 induced the most characteristic edema disease syndrome. Partially purified edema disease principle prepared from O139 freeze-thaw lysates by sequential precipitation with ammonium sulphate and streptomycin sulphate had increased specific activity with markedly reduced endotoxic activity. This material was insoluble at acidic pH but readily soluble at alkaline pH. The effective molecular weight of edema disease principle, based on retention and filtration properties of diaflo membranes, appeared to be greater than 50,000 and less than 100,000. The biological activity of edema disease principle was thermolabile. Sodium deoxycholate treatment of edema disease principle further reduced endotoxic activity. A thermolabile, ammonium sulphate precipitable material was prepared from E. coli O139 that induced a predictable syndrome which resembled edema disease clinically and pathologically following intravenous inoculation in pigs.