Influence of Factors of the Space Environment on the Condition of the System of Microorganisms-Hosts Relating to the Problem of Environmental Safety of Flight Techniques and Planetary Quarantine (Biorisk-KM) - 08.20.14

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Biorisk is looking at the effects of microbial bacteria and fungus on structural materials used in spacecraft construction. Specifically this study will be investigating the effects of how changes in solar activity affect the growth of these microbes.

Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Natalia Novikova, Nataliya D. Novikova, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)

  • Natalia Novikova, Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of Russian Academy of Sciences (IMBP RAS), Russia
  • Nataliya D. Novikova, Ph.D., Institute of Biomedical Problems, Moscow, Russia

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
    Information Pending
    Information Pending
    Sponsoring Space Agency
    Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Information Pending

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    June 2002 - September 2013

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    Information Pending

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview
    Information Pending

    Acquisition of new data on possible manifestations (boundaries) of phenotypic adaptation and genotypic changes in bacterial and fungus associations forming a typical microbiota of structural materials used in space technology.

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    Space Applications
    Information Pending

    Earth Applications
    Information Pending

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    Operational Requirements
    Biorisk-KM Kit, Biorisk-MCB Container.

    Operational Protocols
    Accommodation and exposure of "passive" samples of structural materials and "microorganisms - substrates" systems inside the ISS Service Module.

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    Results/More Information

    Planetary protection is one of the key problems of deep space exploration. Risks of the possible transfer of biological material across interplanetary space are being assessed during space exploration. The Biorisk investigation examines the impact of the space environment on a variety of bacteria, fungi, plant seeds and dormant organisms.


    Initial results from the second (April 2007 – July 2008) Biorisk study indicated that bacterial and fungal spores in the resting stages and evolutionary advanced organisms in the dormant stages were capable of surviving the environment of space (Baranov 2009).

    According to Novikova 2011, an 18 month study demonstrated that bacterial and fungal spores could survive the harsh effects of outer space. Also, following 13-month and 18-month exposures to the space environment, seeds of higher plants remained viable and were able to germinate and produce plants which did not differ from ground controls in their genetic, biochemical, physiological and morphological characteristics. Dehydrated dormant larvae of lower crustaceans were capable of surviving the extremes of the space environment. 


    One of the many seeds tested in Biorisk was barley. On Earth, seeds are stored with climate control prior to planting to ensure a successful germination. For the Biorisk investigation the seeds were stored without climate control and exposed to the harsh environment of space. Eighty-two percent of the barley seeds within Biorisk were successfully germinated upon return to Earth. These seeds exhibited normal growth, ripening, and reproduction of several generations. Biorisk results demonstrated that barley seeds can be preserved in the space environment without phenotypic (observable traits) and genotypic (cellular traits) changes for at least one year with healthy and vigorous growth, guaranteeing a safe supply of food in space (Sugimoto 2011).


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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

      Bartlett JD, Scicchitano DA, Robison SH.  Two expressed human genes sustain slightly more DNA damage after alkylating agent treatment than an inactive gene. Mutation Research - Reviews in Mutation Research. 1991 Nov; 255(3): 247-256. PMID: 1719396.

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    Related Websites
    Coordinating Scientific and Technical Council of the Russian Space Agency [Russian]
    Energia - Science Research on the ISS Russian Segment

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    image Biorisk KM kit.
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    image Biorisk MCB container.
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    image ISS028-E-018265 (21 July 2011) --- Russian cosmonaut Alexander Samokutyaev, Expedition 28 flight engineer, works with a Biorisk-MSN experiment container in the Zvezda Service Module of the International Space Station
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