2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Survivability of Chlorofexus aurantiacus under UVA and UVC light
Marie K. Young
Dr. Marc Benson, Faculty Mentor

Chloroflexus aurantiacus is a model organism to study the evolution of photosynthesis and UV radiation resistance, as it is a filamentous phototrophic bacterium that branches early on the evolutionary tree. UV radiation, currently largely absorbed by the atmosphere, damages DNA and kills organisms exposed for long periods of time. Resistance to UV radiation could provide an essential insight into the connections between organisms in an early Earth with a less protective atmosphere and our current ozone-protected planet. C. aurantiacus will be exposed for varying lengths of time to UV radiation and survivability will be calculated for each exposure length. Photosynthetic activity will be measured by quantifying pigment production at the varying exposures of UV radiation. Our hypothesis is that C. aurantiacus will display greater survivability compared to an E. coli control when exposed to UV radiation and we expect photosynthetic pigment production to increase with longer exposures to UV radiation.

Keywords: Astrobiology, Filamentous Anoxygenic Phototrophic Bacteria, Photosynthesis, Evolution, Early Earth, UV light

Topic(s):Astrobiology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 206-5
Location: MG 2090
Time: 10:30

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