Effect of impact shock on extremophilic Halomonas gomseoemensis EP-3 isolated from hypersaline sulphated lake Laguna de Peña Hueca, Spain

R. Thombre, F. Gomez, R. Parkhe, K. Kaur, P. Vaishampayan, E. Shivakarthik, B. Sivaraman, R.Perumal, N. Mason

Planetary and Space Science
Available online 26 July 2020, 105041



• First report on effect of shock on halophilic bacteria isolated from Planetary Field analogue site.
• Microbial Diversity of hypersaline sulphated site Laguna de Peña Hueca, a terrestrial analogue for studying habitability of Mars and Ocean worlds reported.
• Novel application of Reddy shock tube in astrobiology to study impact events or fate of micro-organisms in impact driven interplanetary transport between planetary systems like Phobos/Deimos.”

“The geologic histories of planetary surfaces reveal that Earth and Mars have been pummeled by cataclysmic impact events. The surface of Mars has been perused to have an impact origin for its hemispheric dichotomy. The spallation during impact events causes the interplanetary transfer of material from Mars to Earth or Mars to Phobos/Deimos. Assessing the survival of micro-organisms in impact conditions is critical for the development of planetary protection strategies for future missions. Shock waves are generated during such major impact events. The objective of the present investigation was to explore the microbial diversity of the hypersaline sulphated Laguna de Peña Hueca, Spain and to study the effect of shock waves on extremophilic bacteria isolated from the lake. Peña Hueca is a hypersaline sulphated lagoon rich in Mg–Na–SO4–Cl, epsomite and hexahydrate and it potentially serves as Planetary field analogue site for Martian chloride deposits and salt-rich subsurface brines of Ocean worlds like Enceladus and Europa. The microbial community structure of the lagoon was studied by 16S rRNA metagenomic sequencing. The phylogenetic studies indicated the presence of phyla Euryarchaeota, Proteobacteria, and Bacteroides in the hypersaline brines of the lagoon. The anoxic sediments of Peña Hueca showed the presence of Haloanaerobiaeta and Hadesarchaeota including the anoxic genus of Haloanaerobium, Desulfosalsimonas and Desulfovermiculum. The effect of impact shock on the halophilic bacterium Halomonas gomseomensis EP-3 isolated from Laguna de Peña Hueca was studied in a Reddy shock tube. The halophilic bacterium was exposed to shock waves at a peak shock pressure of 300 kPa and a temperature of 400 K. The results of shock recovery experiments of halophilic bacteria reveal 97% killing at 300 kPa and Mach number of 1.47 in comparison with Bacillus sp. This study indicates that gram-positive spore-forming Bacillus sp. are better adapted to survival in impact shock waves in comparison to non-sporulating halophiles. In the current study, we present the first report on response of halophiles in impact shock. Furthermore, we demonstrate a novel application of the simple handheld Reddy shock tube in astrobiology. The survival studies of halophiles isolated from terrestrial analogue sites in impact shock can provide valuable insights in astrobiology and microbial physiology in impact shock stress.”