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Desiccation

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Synonyms

Dehydration; Desiccation effects

Keywords

Anhydrobiosis, cryptobiosis, desiccation, dehydration, habitability of Mars, survival

Definition

Desiccation describes a process, which causes loss of liquid water from a solid surface or from a porous medium (soil, food, ecosystems, individual organisms, etc.). This process leads to drying up of the matter. In biology, several organisms have developed strategies to tolerate desiccation imposed on them.

Overview

Water is one of the essentials for all forms of life on the Earth. Dehydration causes severe damage to various cell components: Lipid membranes may change from planar bilayers to cylindrical bilayers and carbohydrates, proteins and nucleic acids may undergo amino-carbonyl reactions (Maillard reactions) that result in cross-linking and finally polymerization of the biomolecules (Cox 1991, 1993). These structural changes can give rise to functional changes, such as inhibited or altered enzyme activity, changes in membrane...

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_416
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References and Further Reading

  • Cox CS (1991) Roles of Maillard reactions in diseases. Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO), London

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  • Cox CS (1993) Roles of water molecules in bacteria and viruses. Origin Life Evolut Biosph 23:29–36

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  • Horneck G, Klaus DM, Mancinelli RL (2010) Space microbiology. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 74:121–156

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  • Kminek G et al (2010) Report of the COSPAR mars special regions colloquium. Adv Space Res 46:811–829

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  • Mattimore V, Battista JR (1996) Radioresistance of Deinococcus radiodurans: functions necessary to survive ionizing radiation are also necessary to survive prolonged desiccation. J Bacteriol 178:633–637

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  • Morgan C, Vesey G (2009) Freeze-drying of microorganisms. Encyclopedia of Microbiology, 3rd edn. Elsevier, New York, pp 162–173

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  • Munakata N, Saito M, Takahashi N, Hieda K, Morihoshi F (1997) Induction of unique tandem-base change mutations in bacterial spores exposed to extreme dryness. Mutat Res 390:189–195

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  • Setlow P (1994) Mechanisms which contribute to the long-term survival of spores of Bacillus species. J Appl Bacteriol Symp 76:129S–134S

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Correspondence to Gerda Horneck .

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© 2011 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Horneck, G. (2011). Desiccation. In: , et al. Encyclopedia of Astrobiology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-11274-4_416

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