Linking Biofilm Thickness and Viability to an Elevated Microbial Corrosion Risk (NALCO Champion Studies on Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion ) - 09.13.18

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

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Linking Biofilm Thickness and Viability to an Elevated Microbial Corrosion Risk (NALCO Champion Studies on Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion) examines biofilms on Earth and in space and monitors the rate of corrosion caused by microorganisms, referred to as Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC). MIC is responsible for 20 to 50% of all corrosion damage, at an annual cost of $485 billion to $1.5 trillion globally. To help determine when a biofilm is likely to cause MIC, the investigation evaluates the role of specific microbes as well as number of viable cells, total mass (biomass), or thickness of the biofilm.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Stefanie Countryman, M.B.A., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: Nalco Biofilms

Principal Investigator(s)
Renato M. De Paula, Ph.D., Nalco Champion, Sugar Land, TX, United States
Vic Keasler, Ph.D., Nalco Champion, Sugar Land, TX, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Information Pending

Developer(s)
BioServe Space Technologies, Boulder, CO, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory (NL)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
October 2018 - April 2019

Expeditions Assigned
57/58

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Linking Biofilm Thickness and Viability to an Elevated Microbial Corrosion Risk (NALCO Champion Studies on Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion) evaluates biofilm thickness and viability and compares it to pitting corrosion rate.
  • The investigation tests whether biofilms grown in space have a greater number of viable cells, biofilm biomass, and thickness and whether that is correlated to an increase in corrosion rates on the surface of C1018 carbon steel coupons. Previous studies show a 5-10 fold increase in colony-forming units (CFU) per membrane, a 40% increase in biomass, and a doubling of biofilm thickness.
  • This investigation builds upon the results of previous investigations to evaluate the impact on pitting corrosion on carbon steel coupons.

Description

Linking Biofilm Thickness and Viability to an Elevated Microbial Corrosion Risk (NALCO Champion Studies on Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion) utilizes the International Space Station (ISS) to monitor the rate of microbial corrosion caused by microbial biofilms on carbon steel materials. The investigation may give insight into the corrosion rates caused by varying biofilm size and viability. Biofilms grow over a period of 60 days using a consortium of microorganisms isolated from an oilfield. The investigation utilizes two of BioServe’s Group Activation Packs hardware each containing eight Fluid Processing Apparatus (GAPs-FPAs).
 
The experiment requires cold stowage resources for transportation to and from the ISS. Once aboard the ISS, cold stowage resources are used to provide 4°C stowage until the experiment is ready to be activated at 30°C or 37°C inside BioServe’s Space Automated Bioproduct Laboratory (SABL) hardware. Cold stowage resources provide the 4°C termination conditioned temperature on the back end of the experiment while it remains aboard the ISS. The crew manipulates the GAP hardware to inject additional media at one or two different time points into the primary sample. The GAPs are housed within BioServe’s SABL incubator during activation. At a predetermined time point, the crew accesses SABL, removes the two GAPs, inserts the GAP handle and cranks the GAP to inject the additional media into the sample. The procedure takes less than 20 minutes of crew time.

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Applications

Space Applications
Biofilms have the potential to cause significant damage to spacecraft and crew members. Better understanding of biofilms and microbiologically influenced corrosion contributes to protecting the International Space Station and its occupants, as well as future vehicles and crews.

Earth Applications
Determining whether corrosion increases with biofilm thickness and viability contributes to establishing a threshold microbe number for elevated corrosion risk and proactive identification of areas at high risk for corrosion. This allows more efficient and effective application of treatment. It also changes how industries such as oil and gas evaluate and treat biofilms and supports development of modified biocide treatment to prevent or reduce the number of oil and gas system failures worldwide.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
The hardware containing the samples is launched to the ISS while being held steady at 4°C within cold stowage resources. Once aboard the ISS, the GAP/FPAs are held at 4°C until the experiment is activated by placing in 30°C or 37°C. At a predetermined time point, the crew places the hand crank into the GAP and initiate the addition of fresh media into the biofilm cultures. At approximately 60 days post activation, the samples are terminated by cooling them to 4°C and then maintaining that temperature until the samples are returned to the principal investigator.

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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