June 10, 2023

Scientists Discover That Cellulose-Producing Bacteria Can Survive on Mars

According to the researchers, bacterial cellulose allows microbial life on Mars.
A group of researchers from Göttingen University examines kombucha growing in extraterrestrial environments.
The possibility of kombucha cultures making it through under Martian-like environments has actually been studied by a global research team that consists of the University of Göttingen. Kombucha, likewise referred to as tea fungi or mushroom tea, is a popular drink that is made by fermenting sugared tea utilizing kombucha cultures, a symbiotic culture of germs and yeast.
Surprisingly, a bacterial species that produces cellulose continued despite the simulated Martian environment destroying the kombucha cultures microbial ecology. The findings were released in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.
In 2014, with the help of the European Space Agency, the researchers working on the “Biology and Mars Experiment” (BIOMEX) job released kombucha cultures to the International Space Station (ISS).

Another platform (EXPOSE-R2) outside the International Space Station (ISS) for replicating a Mars-like environment that was utilized for the experiments. Credit: European Space Agency (ESA).
The objective was to get a better understanding of celluloses strength as a biomarker, kombuchas genomic structure, and its extraterrestrial survival behavior. The samples were reactivated on Earth and cultured for another two and a half years after one and a half years under simulated Martian conditions outside the ISS.
Working together with scientists from the University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, Professor Bertram Brenig, director of the University of Göttingens Institute of Veterinary Medicine, was in charge of sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of the metagenomes of the reactivated cultures and individual kombucha cultures.
” Based on our metagenomic analysis, we discovered that the simulated Martian environment significantly interfered with the microbial ecology of kombucha cultures. Nevertheless, we were surprised to discover that the cellulose-producing germs of the genus Komagataeibacter survived.”.
Area of the EXPOSE-2 platform outside the International Space Station (ISS) replicating a Mars-like environment that was utilized for the experiments. Credit: European Space Agency (ESA).
The results suggest that the cellulose produced by the bacteria is probably accountable for their survival in extraterrestrial conditions. This also provides the first proof that bacterial cellulose might be a biomarker for extraterrestrial life and cellulose-based membranes or movies could be a good biomaterial for safeguarding life and producing durable goods in extraterrestrial settlements.
Another intriguing element of these experiments could be the development of unique drug shipment systems, for example, the development of medication ideal for usage in area. Another focus was on examinations into modifications in antibiotic resistance: the research group had the ability to reveal that the total number of antibiotic and metal resistance genes– implying that these bacteria may make it through in spite of antibiotics or metals in the environment– were enriched in the exposed cultures.
” This result shows that the difficulties connected with antibiotic resistance in medication in space must be given special attention in the future,” the scientists said.
Recommendation: “The Space-Exposed Kombucha Microbial Community Member Komagataeibacter oboediens Showed Only Minor Changes in Its Genome After Reactivation in the world” by Daniel Santana de Carvalho, Ana Paula Trovatti Uetanabaro, Rodrigo Bentes Kato, Flávia Figueira Aburjaile, Arun Kumar Jaiswal, Rodrigo Profeta, Rodrigo Dias De Oliveira Carvalho, Sandeep Tiwar, Anne Cybelle Pinto Gomide, Eduardo Almeida Costa, Olga Kukharenko, Iryna Orlovska, Olga Podolich, Oleg Reva, Pablo Ivan P. Ramos, Vasco Ariston De Carvalho Azevedo, Bertram Brenig, Bruno Silva Andrade, Jean-Pierre P. de Vera, Natalia O. Kozyrovska, Debmalya Barh and Aristóteles Góes-Neto, 11 March 2022, Frontiers in Microbiology.DOI: 10.3389/ fmicb.2022.782175.