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Identifier 000416934
Title Astrobiotechnological perspective of lichens : a new hypothesis and its comparative assessment using the fuzzy logic model ASTRALIFE
Alternative Title Αστροβιοτεχνολογική προοπτική των λειχήνων: μια νέα υπόθεση και η συγκριτική αξιολόγησή της με τη χρήση του μοντέλου ασαφούς λογικής ASTRALIFE
Author Louk, Andrianos A.
Thesis advisor Κοτζαμπάσης, Κυριάκος
Reviewer Πυρίντζος, Στέργιος
Βόντας, Ιωάννης
Abstract Every life form has range of tolerance to extreme environmental conditions. The open debate on climate change and the new technologies have led to many scientific fields in the study of organisms that are tolerant to extreme conditions. These studies usually focus on the tolerance of these organisms to extreme high or extreme low values of temperature, atmospheric pressure, radioactivity, humidity, and oxygen. For many years it has been known that lichens are among the most interesting organisms that withstand extreme environmental conditions on Earth or possibly other planets such as Mars. Recently, however, it has been experimentally proven that lichens survive in extremely harsh environmental conditions, such as complete dehydration and extremely low temperature (-196oC/77oK) and most importantly that they retain their metabolism unchanged when they return to normal conditions (bio-regeneration) (Parasyri et al. 2018). Recently, experimental studies reveal that lichens have the ability to produce large amounts of hydrogen in anoxic conditions (Papazi et al. 2015), which is particularly important for energy autonomy. The two above discoveries, for first time demonstrated that the unprecedented poly-extremophile characteristic of lichens could be linked to biotechnological applications, following exposure to these extreme conditions maintained unchanged their ability to produce high yield of hydrogen. That opens the way for astrobiotechnological applications for these organisms. Thus, this work, exploiting these new experimental findings and moving around the basic question of space mission ― are there organisms or systems of organisms that will survive on another planet as on Mars and how one can control this possibility? ― uses the fuzzy logic to evaluate comparatively this new hypothesis for lichens. The astrobiotechnological perspective and the extremophile behaviour of an organism is a multidimensional and vague notion that has so far no commonly accepted definition, with the result that it is defined by different criteria for which there is neither a single acceptance framework nor a measurement system. In this work, fuzzy logic is used as a tool for synthesizing the various criteria and parameters that regulate the astrobiotechnological perspective and tolerance of biological systems in extraterrestrial environments, but also as a tool of comparative assessment. The use of artificial intelligence and fuzzy logic methods in the quantification of the astrobiotechnological perspective on another planet is being applied for the first time. Specifically, this thesis attempts to benchmark the astrobiotechnological perspective of lichens using the ASTRALIFE (*Astrobiotechnological Assessment of Life using Fuzzy logic Evaluation) fuzzy logic model, which is programmed in a MATLAB environment. In summary, the operation of the model started from extensive bibliographic research, measurements, estimates and generally information relating to the variability of environmental-related quantities, such as temperature, water, pressure, oxygen, radioactivity, carbon dioxide, and others. These variables are called survival indicators and are the inputs data of the ASTRALIFE model. The available information on these indicators is analysed and, with the help of fuzzy logic and knowledge rules, transformed into partial composed components of space sustainability, such as survival, transport and biotechnology, which are used for the measurement of the overall astrobiotechnological perspective of an organism. The result of the evaluation using the model is the degree of the astrobiotechnological perspective of the organisms under consideration in the interval [0, 1], through which the comparative assessment of organisms for the extreme conditions under control can be obtained. The model is open and it can incorporate new survival indicators and knowledge rules in the form of new standards of tolerance. Five different organisms that were formerly studied in astrobiological studies, namely two lichen species and three taxa microbes, were examined with the above methodology, and eight survival indices, considered to have the most significant (positive or negative) contribution, were selected. The comparative assessment has shown the lichens' superiority in the astrobiotechnological perspective, paving the way for their biotechnological use in special assignments on planets of high interest in life they can sustain, such as the planet Mars. The methodology followed is a pioneering approach that is expected to relaunch the debate on the theory of organism/system survival on space while being used in biotechnological applications and to be a practical tool in decision making process.
Language English
Subject Astrobiology
Ασαφούς λογικής
Issue date 2018-07-20
Collection   School/Department--School of Sciences and Engineering--Department of Biology--Post-graduate theses
  Type of Work--Post-graduate theses
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