Kombucha bacteria can survive on Mars

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists has investigated the chances of kombucha crops surviving in Martian conditions. As experiments have shown, bacteria that produce cellulose survived, according to the website of the University of Göttingen.

Kombucha was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) back in 2014. After one and a half years of simulating Martian conditions outside the ISS, the samples were able to be reactivated on Earth, as well as cultivated for another two and a half years.

The researchers, using metagenomic analysis, found that the Martian environment destroyed the microbial ecology of kombucha cultures, but one species of bacteria survived. For its survival in extraterrestrial conditions, the cellulose that it produces is probably responsible.

“This is the first evidence that bacterial cellulose can be a biomarker for extraterrestrial life, and cellulose-based membranes or films can be a good biomaterial for protecting life and producing consumer goods in extraterrestrial settlements,” the scientists said.

They also documented the fact that bacteria are able to survive in space despite antibiotics and the presence of metals in the environment. This indicates that special attention will need to be paid to space medicine in the future.

The University of Göttingen noted that the results of the work could be useful for creating new drug delivery systems. For example, those that can be used in space.

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