NanoRacks‐Valley Christian High School-The Effects of Gravity on the Metabolic Processes of a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (NanoRacks-VCHS-Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) - 09.27.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Fermentation is the metabolic process of converting sugars to acid, gas or alcohol, and it takes place in yeast and bacteria, where it is important for producing many foods. Fermentation of lactic acid also takes place in human muscle cells that are starved for oxygen, including after vigorous exercise. The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School‐Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (NanoRacks-VCHS-Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) investigation studies whether fermentation occurs at different rates in the microgravity environment of space.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by George Sousa, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Valley Christian High School , Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
George Sousa, Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Developer(s)
Valley Christian High School , San Jose , CA, United States
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2016 - September 2016

Expeditions Assigned
47/48

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School‐Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (NanoRacks-VCHS-Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) is the type of experiment needed to potentially have humans in space for extended periods of time. Fermentation is an important chemical process not only to making tea, but to the human body as well. There may be a link between carbon dioxide (CO2) production from tea and the fermentation production in muscles while working out.
  • The goal of this project is to gather numerical data from the CO2 sensor in order to discover the rate of fermentation in an antigravity environment. The aim to be able to find a difference in the rate of fermentation in space as compared to the rate on Earth.
  • The impact of this research could give us insight into fermentation processes in space not only in tea, but in our bodies or other substances as well.

Description

The primary objective of NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School‐Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (NanoRacks-VCHS-Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) is to measure the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) production from the mixture of standard tea and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Over time as the tea and SCOBY mix (when the tea is pumped into the SCOBY chamber) CO2 is produced via fermentation. The rate of this production may be different in space so this is the difference being determined and how drastic it may be.
 
The main hardware components are the CO2 sensor, two MP6 pumps and two bags with a chamber. All are simplistic and small in their design. The CO2 sensor (roughly the size of a quarter) has a hole in its chamber that is connected to a pump that funnels the CO2 into the chamber. The other pump is used to pump tea into the SCOBY chamber to begin the fermentation process.

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Applications

Space Applications
Previous investigations have shown bacteria and yeast can grow faster and more virulent in space, which is related to microgravity effects. This investigation studies whether microgravity affects the fermentation process of a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Comparing fermentation rates in space and the ground provides new insight into the interactions between bacteria and yeast in microgravity. Fermentation also takes place in human muscle after exercise, so results also have implications for crew health on long-duration space missions.

Earth Applications
Fermentation is vital for producing food and drinks, including tea and alcoholic beverages. Fermentation also plays a role in the human body, when lactic acid builds up in muscle cells that are low on oxygen. This investigation demonstrates whether microgravity affects fermentation, providing new fundamental science. In addition, students at Valley Christian High School in San Jose, California, devised the experiment as part of the school’s goal to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

There is only one observation chamber (the SCOBY chamber). The only data that is needed is CO2 measurements and the occasional chamber photo to analyze SCOBY growth.
 
Crew interaction with Module-18 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 needed), and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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Imagery