Presentation Title

Identification and Characterization of Four Novel Species of Bacteria Isolated from Spacecraft Assembly During NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Faculty Mentor

Wei-Jen Lin, Arman Seuylemezian, Parag Vaishampayan

Start Date

18-11-2017 2:15 PM

End Date

18-11-2017 3:15 PM

Location

BSC-Ursa Minor 94

Session

Poster 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

During routine sampling of spacecraft hardware and associated surfaces throughout the Mars Exploration Rover mission, four novel bacterial species were isolated. Using 16S rRNA sequence based bacterial identification, it was concluded that many of these microorganisms displayed unique differences from other known microbes, suggesting their novelty. The persistence of these microorganisms in cleanrooms indicated their unique tolerance against harsh conditions, making them of interest to assess forward contamination concerns for current and future interplanetary missions. Therefore, it was crucial to define and characterize their functions. A total of four strains were considered in this study, two belonging to the Bacillus genus and two to the Paenibacillus genus. All four strains were rod-shaped, Gram-positive endospore-formers. The colonies on TSA appeared circular with entire margins but differed in other morphological characteristics. One Paenibacillus strain showed translucent colonies, while the other three strains appeared opaque. The range of growth temperature varied by strains, but all four had an optimal growth temperature at either 32°C or 37°C. The range of growth for salinity was between 0% and 1% NaCl for all isolates with the exception of a Bacillus strain that grew at a range up to 5% NaCl. The degree of growth at different pH levels varied between the strains, but all four had optimal growth that ranged from pH 7.0 to 8.0. The data collected from biochemical analyses further elucidate the novelty of these organisms for which the names Bacillus ochoae , Bacillus carveri, Paenibacillus spiritus, and Paenibacillus whitsoniae were proposed.

Summary of research results to be presented

Not Applicable

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Nov 18th, 2:15 PM Nov 18th, 3:15 PM

Identification and Characterization of Four Novel Species of Bacteria Isolated from Spacecraft Assembly During NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Mission

BSC-Ursa Minor 94

During routine sampling of spacecraft hardware and associated surfaces throughout the Mars Exploration Rover mission, four novel bacterial species were isolated. Using 16S rRNA sequence based bacterial identification, it was concluded that many of these microorganisms displayed unique differences from other known microbes, suggesting their novelty. The persistence of these microorganisms in cleanrooms indicated their unique tolerance against harsh conditions, making them of interest to assess forward contamination concerns for current and future interplanetary missions. Therefore, it was crucial to define and characterize their functions. A total of four strains were considered in this study, two belonging to the Bacillus genus and two to the Paenibacillus genus. All four strains were rod-shaped, Gram-positive endospore-formers. The colonies on TSA appeared circular with entire margins but differed in other morphological characteristics. One Paenibacillus strain showed translucent colonies, while the other three strains appeared opaque. The range of growth temperature varied by strains, but all four had an optimal growth temperature at either 32°C or 37°C. The range of growth for salinity was between 0% and 1% NaCl for all isolates with the exception of a Bacillus strain that grew at a range up to 5% NaCl. The degree of growth at different pH levels varied between the strains, but all four had optimal growth that ranged from pH 7.0 to 8.0. The data collected from biochemical analyses further elucidate the novelty of these organisms for which the names Bacillus ochoae , Bacillus carveri, Paenibacillus spiritus, and Paenibacillus whitsoniae were proposed.