Development of Multiple Antibiotic Resistance By Opportunistic Bacterial Pathogens During Human Space Flight (BRIC-18-1) - 10.23.14
ISS Science for Everyone
Science Objectives for Everyone
The Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) hardware supports a variety of biological investigations. The Development of Multiple Antibiotic Resistance By Opportunistic Bacterial Pathogens During Human Space Flight (BRIC-18-1) investigation tests the hypothesis that microgravity increases the development of simultaneous resistance to rifampicin (RIF) and trimethoprim (TMP), two antibiotics that are often prescribed together.
Science Results for Everyone
Kennedy Space Center, , FL, United States
Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2014
Previous ISS Missions
- Maintaining crew member health during long-term spaceflight is of prime importance to the success of exploration missions to destinations such as the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, or Mars.
- The immune system weakens during Low Earth Orbit missions, rendering crew members more susceptible to infection.
- Microgravity has been shown to increase virulence and antibiotic resistance in certain bacterial species.
- This investigation tests the effects of microgravity of the combination treatment of RIF and TMP antibiotics.
Maintaining crew member health during long-term spaceflight is of prime importance to the success of exploration missions to destinations such as the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, or Mars. The immune system weakens during missions in Low Earth Orbit, rendering astronauts mores susceptible to infection. Microgravity induces in certain bacterial species increased virulence properties such as: adherence to mammalian cells, biofilm formation, resistance to acid and macrophages, and antibiotic resistance. As part of the normal population of microbial inhabitants on and within the human body, crew members carry many microbes considered “opportunistic pathogens”, i.e., normally harmless microbes with the potential to cause disease in hosts with lowered immune function. Opportunistic infections are often treated with combinations of two antibiotics that differ in their mechanisms of action. Combination treatment can be effective because (i) certain antibiotic combinations work synergistically to more effectively combat the pathogen than either drug given alone, and (ii) the probability of the pathogen evolving resistance to two antibiotics simultaneously is much lower than that of becoming resistant to a single antibiotic.
The BRIC-PDFU hardware provides the capability to conduct biological experiments and deliver fluids in one self-contained piece of hardware without the need for a glovebox. This approach minimizes resources such as volume, mass and crew time. Understanding multidrug resistance in opportunistic pathogens during long-term human space flight directly benefits crew member health and the success of extended missions in both Low Earth Orbit and in interplanetary space.
The types and amounts of antibiotics to be included on an extended human space mission are carefully selected for the predicted needs of the crew members long before the actual launch. Any factors altering a potential pathogen's susceptibility to the antibiotics available onboard could result in treatment failure and severely compromise the crew members' health. The results from this proposed study contribute to our knowledge concerning how antibiotic resistance arises in the space flight environment. This data aids the ongoing development of guidelines determining antibiotic use during long-term space flight.
Cells are transferred in dry statis and are activated 7 days after docking with a TSY+10% glycerol growth medium. After a 7 day growth period, the BRIC canisters are stored at -95°C in the MELFI until landing and handover. Frozen samples are planned for return on the same SpaceX mission as launched.
At 7 and 14 days after docking, the BRIC-18-1 payload hardware is accessed for activation. A rod is removed from the Rod Kit and inserted into the BRIC-PDFU Actuator Tool. The BRIC-PDFU Actuator Tool is attached to the selected BRIC-PDFU canister lid in position 1 and is used to mechanically force TSY+10% glycerol growth medium into the Petri dishes. The process is repeated until all the PDFUs are activated in both canisters. Seven days after activation, the BRIC canisters must be transferred to the MELFI for freezing of the samples at -80°C or less.
University of Florida Faculty Website
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
+ View Larger Image
BRIC Actuator Tool and Rod.
+ View Larger Image
Actuation of BRIC Canister.
+ View Larger Image