Exploring the Development of Astrobiology Scientific Research through Bibliometric Network Analysis: A Focus on Biomining and Bioleaching

Luca Tonietti*, Bernardo Barosa, Emiliano Pioltelli, Donato Giovannelli, Giovanni Covone, Paola Di Donato, Angelina Cordone, Laura Inno, Christian Magliano, Stefano Fiscale, Maria Teresa Muscari Tomajoli, Gaetana Napolitano, Alice Maria Piccirillo, Vincenzo Della Corte, Rosa Santomartino, Alessandra Rotundi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Our understanding of the diversity of life on our planet and the possibility of finding or sustaining life elsewhere in the universe plays a central role in supporting human space settlement and exploration. Astrobiology and its outcomes require a multidisciplinary and comprehensive approach, in which the microbial, geological, chemical, astronomical, and physical domains of research are interlinked. An example of the applications of astrobiology and space microbiology is the use of extremophiles for in situ resource utilization through biomining and bioleaching. To better understand the multidisciplinary research landscape in this area, we quantitatively reviewed the global scientific literature on astrobiology, with a focus on biomining and bioleaching through bibliometric network analysis, investigating patterns and trends in its development over time. The network analysis of keyword co-occurrence highlights different connecting and overlapping clusters, illustrating the multidisciplinary character of astrobiology. Temporal analyses show a recent focus on topics related to microbiology and geomicrobiology, emphasizing the role that these fields will play in future astrobiology research. In conclusion, astrobiology, biomining, and bioleaching research are currently addressing the recognition of these techniques as valuable tools for biotechnological applications, expected to play a crucial role in long-term human space exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number797
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • A. ferrooxidans
  • acidophiles
  • astrobiology
  • bibliometric network analysis
  • bioleaching
  • biomining
  • space biology


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