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Sulfate- and Sulfur-Reducing Bacteria as Terrestrial Analogs for Microbial Life on Jupiter's Satellite IoObservations from the Voyager and Galileo spacecraft have revealed Jupiter's moon Io to be the most volcanically active body of our Solar System. The Galileo Near Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (NIMS) detected extensive deposits of sulfur compounds, elemental sulfur and SO2 frost on the surface of Io. There are extreme temperature variations on Io's surface, ranging from -130 C to over 2000 C at the Pillan Patera volcanic vent. The active volcanoes, fumaroles, calderas, and lava lakes and vast sulfur deposits on this frozen moon indicate that analogs of sulfur- and sulfate-reducing bacteria might inhabit Io. Hence Io may have great significance to Astrobiology. Earth's life forms that depend on sulfur respiration are members of two domains: Bacteria and Archaea. Two basic links of the biogeochemical sulfur cycle of Earth have been studied: 1) the sulfur oxidizing process (occurring at aerobic conditions) and 2) the process of sulfur-reduction to hydrogen sulfide (anaerobic conditions). Sulfate-reducing bacteria (StRB) and sulfur-reducing bacteria (SrRB) are responsible for anaerobic reducing processes. At the present time the systematics of StRB include over 112 species distributed into 35 genera of Bacteria and Archaea. Moderately thermophilic and mesophilic SrRB belong to the Bacteria. The hyperthermophilic SrRB predominately belong to the domain Archaea and are included in the genera: Pyrodictium, Thermoproteus, Pyrobaculum, Thermophilum, Desulfurococcus, and Thermodiscus. The StRB and SrRB use a wide spectrum of substrates as electron donors for lithotrophic and heterotrophic type nutrition. The electron acceptors for the StRB include: sulfate, thiosulfate, sulfite, sulfur, arsenate, dithionite, tetrathionate, sulfur monoxide, iron, nitrite, selenite, fumarate, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and chlorine-containing phenol compounds. The Sulfate- and Sulfur-reducing bacteria are widely distributed in anaerobic ecosystems, including extreme environments like hot springs, deepsea hydrothermal vents, soda and high salinity lakes, and cryo-environments. Furthermore, the StRB and SrRB have Astrobiological significance as these anaerobic extremophiles may represent the dominant relic life forms that inhabited our planet during the extensive volcanic activity in the Earth's early evolutionary period.
Document ID
20020023146
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Pikuta, Elena V. (Alabama Univ. Huntsville, AL United States)
Hoover, Richard B. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Six, N. Frank
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Meeting Information
4th SPIE Conference on Instruments, Methods and Missions for Astrobiology(San Diego, CA)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.