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Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2004 Jan;54(Pt 1):195-201.

Bacillus odysseyi sp. nov., a round-spore-forming bacillus isolated from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft.

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Biotechnology and Planetary Protection Group, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA.


A round-spore-forming Bacillus species that produces an exosporium was isolated from the surface of the Mars Odyssey spacecraft. This novel species has been characterized on the basis of phenotypic traits, 16S rDNA sequence analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization. According to the results of these analyses, this strain belongs to the genus Bacillus and is a Gram-positive, aerobic, rod-shaped, endospore-forming eubacterium. Ultrathin sections of the spores showed the presence of an exosporium, spore coat, cortex and core. 16S rDNA sequence similarities between this strain, Bacillus fusiformis and Bacillus silvestris were approximately 96% and DNA-DNA reassociation values with these two bacilli were 23 and 17%, respectively. Spores of the novel species were resistant to desiccation, H2O2 and UV and gamma radiation. Of all strains tested, the spores of this strain were the most consistently resistant and survived all of the challenges posed, i.e. exposure to conditions of desiccation (100% survival), H2O2 (26% survival), UV radiation (10% survival at 660 J m(-2)) and gamma radiation (0.4% survival). The name proposed for this novel bacterium is Bacillus odysseyi sp. nov.; the type strain is 34hs-1T (=ATCC PTA-4993T=NRRL B-30641T=NBRC 100172T).

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