NanoRacks-Whittier Christian High School-E.Coli Bacteria and Kanamycin Antibiotic
(NanoRacks-WCHS-E. Coli and Kanamycin) - 11.19.14
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NanoRacks-Whittier Christian High School-E.Coli Bacteria and Kanamycin Antibiotic (NanoRacks-WCHS-E. Coli and Kanamycin) is a NanoLab project studying the growth of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria in microgravity and the E. coli bacteria’s resistance to the antibiotic Kanamycin by varying the antibiotic dosage.
Science Results for Everyone
OpNom NanoRacks Module-16, NanoRacks Module-20
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
National Laboratory Education (NLE)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2011 - March 2013
Previous ISS Missions
- Previous research indicates that the E. coli bacteria resistance to antibiotics increases in microgravity. Since crewmembers will be taking long duration trips to mars and back, it is assumed that they will get sick and will need to take antibiotics. This research helps quantify the amount of antibiotics required to overcome the effects of microgravity.
- The NanoRacks-Whittier Christian High School-E.Coli Bacteria and Kanamycin Antibiotic (NanoRacks-WCHS-E. Coli and Kanamycin) experiment grows E. coli and examines the level of antibiotic resistance of GFP fluorescent tagged bacteria inoculated with Kanamycin antibiotics.
- Prior to launch, the E. coli bacteria are placed in stasis mode in a saline solution, and activated with the addition of a glucose buffer and injected on ampicilin treated agar plates.
- For 30 days the growth of bacteria is monitored on control and experimental conditions of 2 dosage levels of Kanamycin antibiotics. Data is analyzed to determine the degree of antibiotic resistance and dosage level required to eliminate all bacterial colonies.
- NanoRacks-WCHS-E. Coli and Kanamycin increases the general public’s knowledge and brings space research to the high school level. Hopefully, this research helps quantify the increased dosage of antibiotics required to kill the bacteria in microgravity.
The NanoRacks-Whittier Christian High School-E.Coli Bacteria and Kanamycin Antibiotic (NanoRacks-WCHS-E. Coli and Kanamycin) experiment consists of growing Escherichia Coli bacteria and examining the level of antibiotic resistance of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) tagged bacteria inoculated with Kanamycin antibiotics. E. coli are transformed into a stasis mode by plasmids that not only contain a glowing GFP (green fluorescent protein that makes them glow) but also contain an ampicilin resistant gene. E. coli are activated with the addition of a glucose buffer and injected on ampicilin treated agar plates. The E. coli bacteria containing the ampicilin resistant gene is able to grow on the ampicillin covered plates while other bacteria is not able to grow. For 30 days the growth of bacteria is monitored on control vs. experimental conditions of 2 dosage levels of antibiotics, one will be a 2X dose (as determined by ground tests), and one will be a 3X dose (as determined by ground tests), with antibiotic being dispensed at 2 μL a day for the entire duration of the experiment. Data is analyzed to determine the degree of antibiotic resistance and dosage level required to eliminate all bacterial colonies.
The experiment consists of a surgical bag containing E. coli in a saline solution, one surgical bag containing the Kanamycin Antibiotic, five fluidic pumps, a three slot Petri dish, an empty air pouch, a digital camera, a Stamp microcontroller, and a set of back lighting LEDs. The E. coli bacteria in a saline solution is activated by turning one of three fluid pumps to dispense a predetermined amount of the E. coli solution on one of three Petri dish ampicillin treated agar plates. As the E. coli grows, it fluoresces. The fluorescence is photographed by the digital camera to measure the amount of bacteria growth. This procedure is repeated three times using all three pumps and filling all three Petri dish growth slots. One of the two antibiotic dispensing fluidic pumps will dispense a 2X dose of Kanamycin to one of the growth slots and the digital camera photographs the resultant decrease in fluorescence. Kanamycin is selected as the antibiotic, because the gene altered E. coli bacteria is not resistant to Kanamycin. The process is repeated with the other antibiotic dispensing pump and one of three grow slots except that the dosage is 3X of Kanamycin normally required on the ground to kill the bacteria. The third bacteria dispensing pump and growth slot is used to create control bacteria growth free of any bacteria killing Kanamycin.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria are found as normal flora in the human body. While most strains are harmless, some can cause major illness. It is important to determine the antibiotic resistance of E. coli in order to treat crewmembers who may potentially by infected by this bacteria.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria cause major illnesses. The microgravity environment on the International Space Station provides a means to determine the degree of antibiotic resistance and dosage level required to eliminate bacterial colonies. Removing gravity has proven to cause bacteria to grow differently and by determining dosage response in microgravity to ground controls, improved treatment methodologies may be developed.
NanoRacks Module-16 amd Module-20 are completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. NanoRacks Module-16 and Module-20 return to earth via a Russian Soyuz return capsule.
Crew interaction with Module-16 and Module-20 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker Insert from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, cleaning of the air inlet filter (as necessary), and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.