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Isolation and characterization of yeasts from cryogenic environments as eukaryotic model for studies in astrobiology

Grant number: 16/01742-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2016
Effective date (End): December 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal researcher:Fabio Rodrigues
Grantee:Eiji Yamassaki de Almeida
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


This project is included in an area known as Astrobiology, which is dedicated to understand the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life on Earth and the possibility to occur in other celestial bodies. Within its scope, the study of the microorganisms known as extremophiles is very important. Extremophiles are organisms that have ability of living in a determined environment that has some physical variant or geochemical considered as extreme, which means that is unfavorable to life in general. Many researches are found in the literature studying the application of different prokaryotes extremophile in astrobiology, but unicellular eukaryotes are still poorly studied. Extremophilic yeast isolated from extreme environments have already been used by the group as a model for astrobiology, showing great potential and need for more studies. Based on this information, the present project has the goal to isolate yeasts from soil samples from Antarctica and to characterize them based on the resistance for: oligotrophy, radiation (mostly UV-A, B and C) and growth at low temperatures. The isolated yeasts that show greatest resistance to these different conditions will be identified and proposed as models for other studies in astrobiology.

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