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Laser Technique Has Implications For Detecting Microbial Life Forms In Martian Ice

Date:
October 2, 2009
Source:
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News
Summary:
An innovative technique called L.I.F.E. imaging used successfully to detect bacteria in frozen Antarctic lakes could have exciting implications for demonstrating signs of life in the polar regions of Mars, according to a new article.

An innovative technique called L.I.F.E. imaging used successfully to detect bacteria in frozen Antarctic lakes could have exciting implications for demonstrating signs of life in the polar regions of Mars, according to an article published in the current issue of Astrobiology.

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Michael Storrie-Lombardi, M.D., from Kinohi Institute (Pasadena, CA), and Birgit Sattler, Ph.D., from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, used laser-induced fluorescence emission (L.I.F.E.) imaging to detect red and infrared fluorescence activity produced by cyanobacteria present in the ice of frozen Antarctic lakes. This noninvasive technique does not destroy individual target organisms or disrupt the structure of microbial communities or the surrounding ice matrix.

The study was conducted as part of the 2008 Tawani International Expedition to Schirmacher Oasis and Lake Untersee in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica.

This L.I.F.E. technique, which required minimal, inexpensive, off-the-shelf equipment, demonstrated a promising, feasible strategy for detecting photosynthetic activity of microbes via orbital monitoring of ice formations on Earth, on Mars, and in frozen regions of planets in nearby star systems. The technique could also be employed by an interplanetary rover conducting on-site analyses and sample collection.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laser-Induced Fluorescence Emission (L.I.F.E.): In Situ Nondestructive Detection of Microbial Life in the Ice Covers of Antarctic Lakes. Astrobiology, in press

Cite This Page:

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. "Laser Technique Has Implications For Detecting Microbial Life Forms In Martian Ice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001101333.htm>.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. (2009, October 2). Laser Technique Has Implications For Detecting Microbial Life Forms In Martian Ice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001101333.htm
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. "Laser Technique Has Implications For Detecting Microbial Life Forms In Martian Ice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091001101333.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

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