Simulating putative Enceladus-like conditions: The possibility of biological methane production on Saturn's icy moon

Ruth Sophie Taubner, Patricia Pappenreiter, Jennifer Zwicker, Daniel Smrzka, Christian Pruckner, Philipp Kolar, Sébastien Bernacchi, Arne H. Seifert, Alexander Krajete, Wolfgang Bach, Jörn Peckmann, Christian Paulik, Maria G. Firneis, Christa Schleper, Simon K.M.R. Rittmann, Bruce G. Elmegreen, L. Viktor Tóth, Manuel Güdel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this study (Taubner et al. 2018), three different methanogenic archaea (Methanothermococcus okinawensis, Methanothermobacter marburgensis, and Methanococcus villosus) were tested for metabolic activities and growth under putative Enceladus-like conditions, including high pressure experiments and tests on the tolerance towards potential gaseous and liquid inhibitors detected in Enceladus' plume. In particular, M. okinawensis, an isolate from a deep marine trench (Takai et al. 2002), showed tolerance towards all of the added inhibitors and maintained methanogenesis even in the range of 10 to 50 bar. Further, we were able to show that H2 production based on serpentinization may be sufficient to fuel such methanogenic life on Enceladus. The experiments revealed that methanogenesis could, in principle, be feasible under Enceladus-like conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-221
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • astrobiology
  • methods: Laboratory
  • planets and satellites: Enceladus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Space and Planetary Science

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  • Cite this

    Taubner, R. S., Pappenreiter, P., Zwicker, J., Smrzka, D., Pruckner, C., Kolar, P., Bernacchi, S., Seifert, A. H., Krajete, A., Bach, W., Peckmann, J., Paulik, C., Firneis, M. G., Schleper, C., Rittmann, S. K. M. R., Elmegreen, B. G., Tóth, L. V., & Güdel, M. (Accepted/In press). Simulating putative Enceladus-like conditions: The possibility of biological methane production on Saturn's icy moon. Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 219-221. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743921319001789