Mycological evaluation of crew exposure to ISS ambient air (Myco) evaluates the risk of microorganisms' via inhalation and adhesion to the skin to determine which fungi act as allergens on the ISS.Principal Investigator(s)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)Sponsoring Organization
Information PendingResearch Benefits
Information PendingISS Expedition Duration
October 2009 - March 2010Expeditions Assigned
21/22Previous ISS Missions
From the beginning of the construction of spacecrafts, the living environment in manned spacecrafts would be progressively contaminated by microorganisms. Environmental monitoring data of spacecrafts indicate that a wide variety of microorganisms has been isolated from the air and inner surfaces of manned spacecrafts. Some microorganisms isolated from the living environment of manned spacecrafts are known as possible allergens in our living environment on the ground. Many researchers and flight surgeons have been studying the correlation between the environmental microflora inside the spacecrafts and allergic reactions or opportunistic infections. They are fully aware of the risk this microbial contamination of the living environment on board poses.
,br />Microflora on crew members who stay aboard the ISS are thought to strongly reflect the ISS environment, which is a completely confined orbital living space in microgravity. The objective of this study is to evaluate the risk of microorganism inhalation and adhesion to skin while exposed to ambient air during stays aboard the ISS. We will perform detailed microbial analysis of these samples by both culture-based methods and the latest molecular-genetic methods.
We can gain a lot of knowledge about how environmental microflora in a spacecraft affects the microflora on crewmembers. Myco experiment is expected to support development of effective medical countermeasures to protect crewmembers against microbes.Earth Applications
Using swabs, sampling sheets and a tube, crewmembers collect preflight, inflight and postflight samples of mucosal membranes from their nasal cavities and pharynx, skin samples from both cheeks and upper chests, and sputum. Sample collections are performed first thing in the morning before eating, drinking except water, brushing the teeth or washing their face.Operational Protocols
Crewmembers themselves will collect their samples from the nasal vestibules (nostrils, the most anterior part of the nasal cavities) and the pharynx with swabs, the skin of both cheeks and the upper chest area by dressing tapes, and sputum by expectorating into a sputum tube in preflight, inflight and postflight periods.
Makimura K, Satoh K, Sugita T, Yamazaki T. Fungal Biota in Manned Space Environment and Impact on Human Health. Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2011; 66(1): 77-82. DOI: 10.1265/jjh.66.77. PMID: 21358138. [Japanese]