eValuatIon And monitoring of microBiofiLms insidE International Space Station (VIABLE ISS) - 04.02.14

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery
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The eValuatIon And monitoring of microBiaL biofilms insidE ISS (VIABLE ISS) study involves the evaluation of the microbial biofilm development on space materials. Both metallic and textile space materials, either conventional or innovative, are located inside and on the cover of Nomex pouches that are placed inside the International Space Station (ISS).
 

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This content was provided by Francesco Canganella, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.

Experiment Details

OpNom VIABLE

Principal Investigator(s)

  • Francesco Canganella, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Giovanna Bianconi, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
  • Vincenzo Roca, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) and University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
  • Renato Fani, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy
  • Nataliya D. Novikova, Ph.D., Institute of Biomedical Problems, Moscow, Russia
  • Elena di Mattia, University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
  • Cesare Lobascio, Ph.D., Alenia Spazio, Rome, Italy
  • Antonio Saverino, Thales Alenia Space Italia, Torino, Italy
  • Lucia Grizzaffi, Thales Alenia Space Italia, Torino, Italy
  • Ilaria Locantore, Thales Alenia Space Italia, Torino, Italy
  • Arianna Pandi, Thales Alenia Space Italia, Torino, Italy
  • Sergio Perero, Polytechnic of Turin, Torino, Italy

  • Developer(s)
    University of Tuscia, Department of Agrobiology and Agrochemistry, Viterbo, , Italy

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Italian Space Agency (ASI)

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    March 2011 - October 2015

    Expeditions Assigned
    27/28,29/30,31/32,33/34,35/36,37/38,39/40,41/42,43/44

    Previous ISS Missions
    Increment 27/28 is the first planned mission for the VIABLE ISS investigation. An experiment involving microorganisms, Microspace, was previously conducted during the ENEIDE mission in 2005.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • The eValuatIon And monitoring of microBiaL biofilms insidE ISS (VIABLE ISS) study is an investigation developed to evaluate microbial biofilm development on either treated or untreated space materials.


    • Both metallic and textile space materials, either conventional or innovative, are located inside and on the cover of Nomex pouches that are placed inside of the ISS and left there for about four years.

    Description

    The eValuatIon And monitoring of microBiaL biofilms insidE ISS (VIABLE ISS) investigation evaluates microbial biofilm development on space materials. The objectives of VIABLE ISS are to determine the microbial strain producing the anti-biofilm product, evaluate the chemical nature of the anti-biofilm product, study the innovative materials which are chemo-physically treated, and address the biological safety issues associated with microbial biofilms.
    Most surfaces are covered with microorganisms under natural conditions. The process by which a complex community of microorganisms is established on a surface is known as biofilm formation. Microbial biofilms can exist in many different forms by a wide range of microorganisms. The process of biofilm formation is a prerequisite for substantial corrosion and/or deterioration of the underlying materials to take place.
    The VIABLE ISS samples are composed by both metallic and textile space materials either conventional or innovative (Aluminum, Armaflex and Betacloth). They are placed inside four foam lined Nomex bags and, in particular, the following hardware is placed inside each pouch:

    • Pouch 1 - untreated space materials;

    • Pouch 2 - space materials pre-treated with biosurfactants;

    • Pouch 3 - space materials pre-treated with hydrogen peroxide;

    • Pouch 4 - space materials chemo-physically pre-treated with silica and silver coating.
    Vials with samples of potable water used on ISS and stainless steel laminas are also included in order to evaluate biofilm formation under conditions simulating potable water storage. Inside all pouches both dosimeters and temperature data loggers are placed close to the two water vials. Both metallic, foaming and textile space materials are located inside and on the cover of Nomex pouches that are placed inside the ISS. A total of eight pouches are set up: a group of four for the flight experiment and a second group of four pouches (replica of the previous ones) are used as ground sample controls.

    Related and similar experimental activities are performed in a project (MICHA) that is carried out within the frame of the MARS500 program, the first ground simulation of a human Mars mission.

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    Applications

    Space Applications

    The present investigation may supply interesting data related to the biosafety and health quality of crewmembers as well as to the maintenance of ISS hardware. Microbial biofilms are well known for causing damage and contamination on both MIR and ISS. The potential application of novel methodologies and products to treat space materials may lead to improve the environmental quality of manned confined habitats on space.
     

    Earth Applications

    The potential application of novel methodologies and products to treat space materials may lead to improve the environmental quality of manned confined habitats on space; but also specific bases and modules on earth where humans have to stay long-term; particularly for scientific purposes.
     

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    Operations

    Operational Requirements

    During the 12-day mission, a crewmember is required to handle the pouches (remove pouches from bag, place pouches in experimental site, open/close cover of pouches, take photographs).

    Operational Protocols

    A total of eight pouches are set up: a group of four pouches for the flight experiment, and a second group of four pouches (replica of the previous pouches) are used as ground sample controls. Vials with the same potable water used on the ISS are also included in order to evaluate biofilm formation. Both dosimeters and temperature data logs are placed inside all pouches. Once in orbit the covers are opened along three sides in order to expose the inner space materials to the module environment; no forced ventilation is required for the experiment execution. Some handling of pouches is, therefore, required. At the end of the mission, covers must be closed and pouches are left on ISS. Inside the FGB, all four pouches are placed on the same spot and aligned as shown in the figure, leaving a 100 mm distance among them and all around. The experiment is performed for about four years and returned on Soyuz.

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    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

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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

      Perfumo A, Banat IM, Canganella F, Marchant R.  Rhamnolipid production by a novel thermophilic hydrocarbon-degrading Pseudomonas aeruginosa AP02-1. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 2006; 72: 132-138.
      Marchant R, Banat IM, Rahman TJ, Berzano M.  The frequency and characteristics of highly thermophilic bacteria in cool soil environments. Environmental Microbiology. 2002; 4: 595-602.
      Banat IM, Marchant R, Rahman TJ.  Geobacillus debilis sp. nov., a novel obligately thermophilic bacterium isolated from a cool soil environment, and reassignment of Bacillus pallidus to Geobacillus pallidus comb.nov. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 2004; 54: 2197-2201.
      Canganella F, Bianconi G.  Survival of microorganisms representing the three Domains of life to cosmic radiations inside the International Space Station. Microgravity Science and Technology. 2007; 19(5-6): 148-153. DOI: 10.1007/BF02919471.
      Bond PL, Smirga SP, Banfield JF.  Phylogeny of microorganisms populating a thick, subaerial predominantly lithotrophic biofilm at extreme acid mine drainage site. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2000; 66: 3842-3849.

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    Related Websites

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    Imagery

    image A pouch of the VIABLE experiment shown in the open configuration. Image courtesy of ASI.
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    image Planned configuration of the four VIABLE pouches inside the Functional Cargo Block (FGB) locker. Image courtesy of ASI.
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