Chemolithotrophy on the Noachian Martian brecciaNWA 7034 via experimental microbialbiotransformation

Tetyana Milojevic*, Mihaela Albu, Denise Kölbl, Gerald Kothleitner, Robert Bruner, Matthew Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple lines of evidence indicate an active hydrogeological history of Mars and chemolithoautotrophy-suited environments within its Noachian terrains. As a result, one of the primary aims of upcoming missions to Mars is to search for signs of ancient life. Here we report on laboratory-scaled microbially assisted chemolithoautotrophic biotransformation of the Noachian Martian breccia Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 composed of ancient (~4.5 Gyr old) crustal materials from Mars. Nanoanalytical hyperspectral analysis provides clues for the trafficking and distribution of meteorite inorganic constituents in the microbial cell. We decipher biomineralization patterns associated with the biotransformation and reveal microbial nanometer-sized lithologies located inside the cell and on its outer surface layer. These investigations provide an opportunity to trace the putative bioalteration processes of the Martian crust and to assess the potential biogenicity of Martian materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number39
Number of pages10
JournalCommunications Earth & Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)

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