The Effects of Freeze-Thaw and UVC Radiation on Microbial Survivability in a Selected Mars-like Environment
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The purpose of this study was to determine survivability of Escherichia coli, Deinococcus radiodurans and Paraburkholderia fungorum under Mars-simulated conditions for freeze-thawing (80 C to +30 C) and UV exposure alone and in combination. E. coli ATCC 25922, D. radiodurans and P. fungorum remained viable following 20 successive freeze-thaw cycles, exhibiting viabilities of 2.3%, 96% and 72.6%, respectively. E. coli ATCC 9079 was non-recoverable by cycle 9. When exposed to UV irradiation, cells withstood doses of 870 J/m2 (E. coli ATCC 25922), 200 J/m2 (E. coli ATCC 9079), 50,760 J/m2 (D. radiodurans) and 44,415 J/m2 (P. fungorum). Data suggests P. fungorum is highly UV-resistant. Combined freeze-thawing with UV irradiation showed freezing increased UV resistance in E. coli ATCC 25922, E. coli DSM 9079 and D. radiodurans by 6-fold, 30-fold and 1.2-fold, respectively. Conversely, freezing caused P. fungorum to exhibit a 1.75-fold increase in UV susceptibility. Strain-dependent experimentation demonstrated that freezing increases UV resistance and prolongs survival. These findings suggest that exposure to short wavelength UV rays (254 nm) and temperature cycles resembling the daily fluctuating conditions on Mars do not significantly affect survival of D. radiodurans, P. fungorum and E. coli ATCC 25922 following 20 days of exposure.
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