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Proceedings Paper

Long-term exposure of bacterial cells to simulated microgravity
Author(s): Fathi Karouia; Madhan R. Tirumalai; Mayra A. Nelman-Gonzalez; Clarence F. Sams; Mark C. Ott; Richard C. Willson; Duane L. Pierson; George E. Fox
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Paper Abstract

Previous space flight experience has demonstrated that microorganisms are just as ubiquitous in space habitats as they are on Earth. Numerous incidences of biofilm formation within space habitats have been reported; some of which were identified only after damage to spacecraft structures and irritation to astronaut’s skin occurred. As we increase the duration of spaceflight missions, it becomes legitimate to question the long-term effects of microgravity on bacteria. To begin this assessment, Escherichia coli K-12 strain MG1655 was grown for one thousand generations (1000G) under low shear modeled microgravity. Subsequently, growth kinetics and the presence of biofilm were assessed in the 1000G strain as compared to a strain (1G) briefly exposed to LSMMG. Overall, the analysis revealed that (i) there was no obvious difference in growth kinetics between the 1G and 1000G strains, and (ii) although biofilm formation was not seen in the 1G strain it did in fact occur as exposure time increased. The results suggest that long-term exposure to the space environment likely favors biofilm formation in many organisms.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 October 2012
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 8521, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XV, 85210K (15 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.975009
Show Author Affiliations
Fathi Karouia, NASA Ames Research Ctr. (United States)
Univ. of California, San Francisco (United States)
Madhan R. Tirumalai, Univ. of Houston (United States)
Mayra A. Nelman-Gonzalez, Wyle International Science and Engineering (United States)
Clarence F. Sams, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Mark C. Ott, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Richard C. Willson, Univ. of Houston (United States)
Duane L. Pierson, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
George E. Fox, Univ. of Houston (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8521:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology XV
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov; Paul C. W. Davies, Editor(s)

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