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Westall, F ; Steele, A ; Toporski, J ; Walsh, M ; Allen, C ; Guidry, S ; McKay, D ; Gibson, E ; Chafetz, H

Polymeric substances and biofilms as biomarkers in terrestrial materials : Implications for extraterrestrial samples

Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets 105 (E10) 24511-24527

par Administrateur - publié le

Abstract :

Organic polymeric substances are a fundamental component of microbial biofilms. Microorganisms, especially bacteria, secrete extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) to form slime layers in which they reproduce. In the sedimentary environment, biofilms commonly contain the products of degraded bacteria as well as allochthonous and autochthonous mineral components. They are complex structures which serve as protection for the colonies of microorganisms living in them and also act as nutrient traps. Biofilms are almost ubiquitous wherever there is an interface and moisture (liquid/liquid, liquid/solid, liquid/gas, solid/gas). In sedimentary rocks they are commonly recognized as stromatolites.