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Detection of bio-signatures in space research using a new and innovative measurement technique based on laser desorption ionisation mass spectrometry

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "BioTec" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RAPENBURG 70
city: LEIDEN
postcode: 2311 EZ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Project website
 Total cost 177˙598 €
 EC max contribution 177˙598 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-10-01   to  2019-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITEIT LEIDEN NL (LEIDEN) coordinator 177˙598.00


 Project objective

Detection of bio-signatures on planetary objects are of high interest for science and society. Mars is one of the most promising target in our Solar System to find traces of life. Several missions are planned in the future by, e.g., NASA and ESA to find bio-signatures on Mars. Unfortunately, since the first Viking landing on Mars in the 1970s the quest for finding bio-signatures remains unresolved. Therefore, the development of new measurement concepts for the detection of bio-signatures is of high importance for future space missions to Mars.

The aim of BioTec is to provide a new and innovative measurement technique for the detection of bio-molecules based on laser desorption ionisation mass spectrometry (LIMS). Knowledge from various science disciplines, ranging from astrobiology to the development of space instrumentation, is required for a successful realisation of BioTec.

First, laboratory techniques will be learned to analyse Mars analogues for their bio-molecule content. These have been collected from different Mars analogue field sites on Earth. This will i) provide insights into the pros and cons of current collecting strategies and ii) further define the best Mars analogues.

Next, a field trip to the Atacama Desert, Chile (most representative Mars analogue site on Earth) is planned. The previously conducted analyses will define the sampling strategy, which in turn will allow me to collect the most promising Mars analogues from the Atacama Desert. These are subsequently analysed using laboratory techniques.

Using expertise gained from these Mars analogues, a simple and robust measurement protocol shall be developed using the LIMS system. This includes testing of i) laser parameters for desorption of amino acids and ii) coatings to minimise the fragmentation pattern of desorbed bio-molecules.

Finally, the best Mars analogues from the first task, together with Mars analogue samples collected from the Atacama Desert will be analysed using the LIMS system.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Niloofar Feshangsaz, Farid Semsarha, Saeed Hesami Tackallou, Kamran Nazmi, Euan P. Monaghan, Andreas Riedo, Jack J.W.A. van Loon
Survival of the halophilic archaeon Halovarius luteus after desiccation, simulated Martian UV radiation and vacuum in comparison to Bacillus atrophaeus
published pages: , ISSN: 1473-5504, DOI:
International Journal of Astrobiology 2020-04-08
2019 Andreas Riedo, Valentine Grimaudo, Alena Cedeño López, Marek Tulej, Peter Wurz, Peter Broekmann
Novel 2D binning approach for advanced LIMS depth profiling analysis
published pages: 1564-1570, ISSN: 0267-9477, DOI: 10.1039/c9ja00138g
Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 34/8 2020-04-08
2019 Niels F.W. Ligterink, Valentine Grimaudo, Pavel Moreno‐García, Rustam Lukmanov, Marek Tulej, Ingo Leya, Robert Lindner, Peter Wurz, Charles S. Cockell, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Andreas Riedo
ORIGIN: a novel and compact Laser Desorption – Mass Spectrometry system forsensitive in situ detection of amino acids on extraterrestrial surfaces
published pages: , ISSN: 2045-2322, DOI:
Scineitifc Repots 2020-04-08
2019 J.W. Aerts, A. Riedo, D.J. Melton, S. Martini, U.J. Meierhenrich, J. Flahaut, R. Lindner, P. Ehrenfreund
Biosignature Analysis of Mars Soil Analogues from the Atacama desert: Challenges and Implications for future Missions to Mars
published pages: , ISSN: 1531-1074, DOI:
Astrobiology 2020-04-08
2019 Andreas Riedo, Coen de Koning, Adam H. Stevens, Charles S. Cockell, Alison McDonald, Alena Cedeño López, Valentine Grimaudo, Marek Tulej, Peter Wurz, Pascale Ehrenfreund
The detection of elemental signatures of microbes in Martian mudstone analogues using high-spatial resolution laser ablation ionization mass spectrometry
published pages: , ISSN: 1531-1074, DOI:
Astrobiology 2020-04-08
2019 Adam H. Stevens, Alison McDonald, Coen de Koning, Andreas Riedo, Louisa J. Preston, Pascale Ehrenfreund, Peter Wurz, Charles S. Cockell
Detectability of biosignatures in a low-biomass simulation of martian sediments
published pages: , ISSN: 2045-2322, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-46239-z
Scientific Reports 9/1 2020-04-08

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