"Useless" bacteria on Earth will provide life to the colonists of Mars

Researchers have found a subspecies of cyanobacteria that is best suited for biological use.

life support system. In the future, it will allow people to survive on Mars. The results of the experiment are published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

At first glance, it seems that in an inhospitableThe Red Planet environment has few useful resources for life support or food production. But a high-carbon (95%) nitrogen-containing atmosphere and red regolith rich in iron and other metals and minerals are suitable for such bioprocesses. They will be provided by cyanobacteria, which on Earth lead to the appearance of blue-green algae, polluting water bodies. But in the context of Mars, they are useful for survival.

Feeding on Martian dust and particles of the atmosphere,some microorganisms of this type can produce oxygen and form biomass. It, in turn, is useful in food production.

The problem is that there are thousands of species of cyanobacteria. The achievement of scientists is that they have found a very promising strain for the life support system on Mars - Anabaena sp. PCC 7938.

First, biologists selected several strainscyanobacteria, and then looked for information about the genomic DNA of each and finally compared them using a series of experiments in the laboratory. The scientists paid special attention to two factors: the ability to feed on the resources available on Mars, and to support the growth of other organisms, such as edible plants.

Duckweed. Source: Panek, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Biologists even managed to grow duckweed as a higher,nutrient-rich plant, using extracts from cyanobacteria biomass as the sole raw material. It is noteworthy that it was isolated from a stream in the Bremen landscape park in Germany.

With their work, scientists hope to intensify additional research on the use of local Martian resources.

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