Microbiological monitoring in the International Space Station-KIBO (Microbe-IV) - 04.09.15

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Monitoring microbes that can cause illness is crucial for maintaining crew member health. Microbiological monitoring in the International Space Station-KIBO (Microbe-IV) uses several passive devices to capture and sample microbes, such as bacteria and fungus, on the International Space Station (ISS). The sampling devices are frozen and returned to Earth, where researchers and students count, and classify, the microbes. Sampling the microbial environment on the ISS helps scientists monitor the station's air purity.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Toru Shimazu, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Experiment Details

OpNom: Microbe-IV

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Masao Nasu, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Noriaki Ishioka, Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency, Tsukuba City, Japan
  • Nobuyasu Yamaguchi, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan
  • Tomoaki Ichijo, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan
  • Koichi Makimura, Ph.D., M.D., Teikyo University, Tokyo, Japan
  • Ichiro Sato, Ph.D., Teikyo University, Tokyo, Japan
  • Takashi Q. Yamazaki, Ph.D., Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Katsuji Tani, Ph.D., Osaka Otani University, Osaka, Japan
  • Takashi Sugita, Ph.D., Meiji Pharmaceutical University, Tokyo, Japan

  • Developer(s)
    JAXA TKSC Space Environment Utilization Center, Tsukuba, Japan

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Information Pending

    Research Benefits
    Space Exploration, Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery

    ISS Expedition Duration
    September 2014 - Ongoing

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    Microbe-I, Microbe-II, and Microbe-III

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • To monitor microbial populations aboard ISS, it is necessary to maintain the health of the crew members. Passive sampling and analysis on the ground clarifies the type, and number, of microbes in the KIBO module. Particle count data gives the real time status of air purity in the KIBO module.
    • Continuous monitoring from the Microbe-I experiments provides microbial information about the KIBO module, and enables the prediction of future microbial circumstance populations in the KIBO module.
    • Results from this experiment provide further insight into the risk of microbial populations to crew members aboard the ISS.

    In the JAXA KIBO Utilization scenario, studies on the relationship between human and microbes in space habitation environments are critical for success in long-duration missions. In respect to human health, the importance of microbiological monitoring is extremely important for long-duration missions. In this investigation, the major focus is on indoor environmental quality control, specifically studies on environmental microbiology in space (astromicrobiological studies), in order to reduce potential hazards for the crew and the spacecraft infrastructure. Progress is made in these astrobiological studies based on past, and current, collaborative studies with JAXA. The continuing expansion of the on-going microbiological monitoring in the KIBO module, the project named “Microbe-I/II/III”, data is being collected on microbial dynamics in the habitable spacecraft environment. Collected data on these microbial communities aboard the ISS is shared with NASA, ESA, and JAXA.

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    Space Applications
    Results from the Microbe-IV investigation provide insight into the microbial environment on the ISS. Microbes that can cause illness could present problems for current and future long-duration space missions. Understanding which microbe communities thrive in space habitats, known as astromicrobiology, could help researchers design antimicrobial technology.

    Earth Applications
    The sampling devices used for Microbe-IV could also be used on Earth. Procedures for monitoring and counting microbe populations could enable new microbe control standards for the pharmaceutical and food processing industries.

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    Operational Requirements
    Passive sampling items, "White Tube", "Microbial Detection Sheet", "Air Filter", and "Sampling Sheet" are recovered on Earth at frozen storage temperature. Particle data taken by "Particle Counter" should be downlinked through Experiment Laptop Computer-2 (ELT-2).

    Operational Protocols


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    Results/More Information

    Information Pending

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    Related Websites
    Utilization scenarios toward 2020

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