New approaches to the study of Antarctic lithobiontic microorganisms and their inorganic traces, and their application in the detection of life in Martian rocks

C. Ascaso, J. Wierzchos, International Microbiology

This International Microbiology review article discusses possible ways to study cryptoendolithic (orgamisms living within pores of a rock) life in Antarctica using microscopy and how these studies may indicate biotic formation of magnetite chains found in Martian meteorite ALH84001. They propose that they have found decomposed remains of dead magnetite-forming bacteria suspended in carbonate-rich fluid, but indicate that further study is required. The article features photomicrographs of endolithic (rock-dwelling) microbes found in Antarctica.

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Subject: Biology:Biogeochemistry, Ecology:Habitats:Within Rock, Biology:Astrobiology, Microbiology, Geoscience:Geology:Mineralogy:Biomineralogy, Biology:Microbiology:Methods of Microbiology :Microscopy
Resource Type: Scientific Resources:Overview/Reference Work
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), Graduate/Professional, College Lower (13-14)
Extreme Environments: Extremely Cold
Topics: Biosphere:Astrobiology, Ecology:Habitats:Within Rock, Biosphere:Biogeochemistry, Microbiology, Methods of Microbiology:Microscopy , Solid Earth:Mineralogy:Biomineralogy
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Mineralogy, Ecology, BiogeoscienceKeywords: Antarctica, Biomarkers, Cryptoendoliths, Lithobionts, Ross Desert, Microbial fossils, endolith