Initial Stages of Biological Deterioration and Biological Damage in Space using the Bioproby Kit-1 (Biodegradatsia-1 (Biodegradation-1)) - 04.04.18

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Various microorganisms – bacteria and microscopic fungi – unavoidably colonize all places created by humans; spacecraft and orbiting stations are no exception. Many of these microorganisms are capable of causing biological damage to different structural materials. Because of this, the goal of the experiment is to monitor the composition of microscopic fungi and bacteria within the ISS Russian Segment. Experiment tasks include studying the initial stages of the colonization of surfaces, isolating and determining the composition of microorganisms, identifying destroyer microorganisms, and developing effective ways to suppress their activity. The experiment is planned for the entire period of operation of the ISS at a sample collection frequency of twice per year.
Science Results for Everyone
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The following content was provided by T. A. Alekhova, Tatiana Anatolievna Alyokhova, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
T. A. Alekhova, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
Tatiana Anatolievna Alyokhova, Biology Department of Moscow State University, Russia

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Sponsoring Space Agency
Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos)

Sponsoring Organization
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Research Benefits
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ISS Expedition Duration
June 2002 - December 2002

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
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Experiment Description

Research Overview
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Space Applications
Based on the research done and culture collection created, ways are being developed to prevent the occurrence of microorganisms, and suppress their growth and activity in microgravity to prevent their potential damaging effects on materials.

Earth Applications
As a result of work, a collection was created of the biological destroyer microorganisms on the ISS RS, which currently counts more than 300 strains. Representatives of the 10 most typical types of fungi capable of causing biological damage were deposited in the union-wide microorganism collection (G. K. Skryabin Institute of Microorganism Biochemistry and Physiology, Russian Academy of Sciences) for official storage for preparation of the patent process.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
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Decadal Survey Recommendations

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Results/More Information

Twenty-six samples at various points on the Russian Segment were collected for analysis (20 with main samplers, and 6 additional). Microorganisms were discovered in 8 of them, at very low quantities. The largest quantities of microorganisms were found at the condensate water processor, pressure hull or onboard cable network, and pressure hull of the structural part of the working compartment. Overall, the number of colony-forming units (CFU) of microorganisms isolated from the ISS RS structural surfaces studied using the Bioproby kit was not great (1-12 CFU/sample). Mycelial fungi were represented in 4 genuses by 6 types: Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus sydowii, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, Penicillium chrysogenum, Penicillium crustosum, and Ulocladium botrytis. Two types of yeast fungi were identified: Rhodotorula sp. and Debaryomyces sp. Bacteria were found in 2 samples, at low quantities. All the types identified had already been seen on the station. As compared to the previous analysis (ISS-35/36, cycle 23: September 2013), the species diversity and numbers of CFU identified of microscopic fungi decreased slightly. Spore growth on ISS RS structural materials and surfaces in this stage was not high.

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Related Websites
Energia - Science Research on the ISS Russian Segment

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image A biosamples kit. Image courtesy of FSA.
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