Brazilian research on extremophiles in the context of astrobiology

Brazilian research on extremophiles in the context of astrobiology

Author Duarte, Rubens T. D. Google Scholar
Nobrega, Felipe Google Scholar
Nakayama, Cristina R. Autor UNIFESP Google Scholar
Pellizari, Vivian H. Google Scholar
Institution Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Abstract Extremophiles are organisms adapted to grow at extreme ranges of environmental variables, such as high or low temperatures, acid or alkaline medium, high salt concentration, high pressures and so forth. Most extremophiles are micro-organisms that belong to the Archaea and Bacteria domains, and are widely spread across the world, which include the polar regions, volcanoes, deserts, deep oceanic sediments, hydrothermal vents, hypersaline lakes, acid and alkaline water bodies, and other extreme environments considered hostile to human life. Despite the tropical climate, Brazil has a wide range of ecosystems which include some permanent or seasonally extreme environments. for example, the Cerrado is a biome with very low soil pH with high Al+3 concentration, the mangroves in the Brazilian coast are anaerobic and saline, Pantanal has thousands of alkaline-saline lakes, the Caatinga arid and hot soils and the deep sea sediments in the Brazilian ocean shelf. These environments harbour extremophilic organisms that, coupled with the high natural biodiversity in Brazil, could be explored for different purposes. However, only a few projects in Brazil intended to study the extremophiles. in the frame of astrobiology, for example, these organisms could provide important models for defining the limits of life and hypothesize about life outside Earth. Brazilian microbiologists have, however, studied the extremophilic micro-organisms inhabiting non-Brazilian environments, such as the Antarctic continent. the experience and previous results obtained from the Brazilian Antarctic Program (PROANTAR) provide important results that are directly related to astrobiology. This article is a brief synopsis of the Brazilian experience in researching extremophiles, indicating the most important results related to astrobiology and some future perspectives in this area. Received 29 February 2012, accepted 25 May 2012, first published online 11 July 2012
Keywords SPASA 2011
Brazil
Antarctica
extremophiles
microbial diversity
astrobiology
Language English
Sponsor São Paulo School of Astrobiology (SPASA 2011) organizing committee
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP)
Date 2012-10-01
Published in International Journal of Astrobiology. New York: Cambridge Univ Press, v. 11, n. 4, p. 325-333, 2012.
ISSN 1473-5504 (Sherpa/Romeo, impact factor)
Publisher Cambridge Univ Press
Extent 325-333
Origin http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1473550412000249
Access rights Closed access
Type Article
Web of Science ID WOS:000309724800015
URI http://repositorio.unifesp.br/handle/11600/35382

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