Initial stage of Biodegradation and Biodeterioration in Space (Biodegradatsia-1 (Biodegradation-1)) - 10.25.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Biodegradation investigates the initial stages of the biodegrading and biodeterioration of surfaces of structural materials used in the ISS. These samples will help us understand what microorganisms are present on ISS and will help develop effective methods of protecting spacecraft surfaces such as new coatings and advanced biocides. The collected samples will be returned to Earth for detailed microbial analysis.
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, 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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Development of biological safety assurance techniques for spacecraft based on the investigation of initial stages of colonization of surfaces of structural materials of habitation modules and SC external surfaces by various microorganisms.

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Space Applications
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Earth Applications
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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Biosamples kit, camera
Take samples of different areas around ISS and put them in the Biosamples kit for return to Earth.

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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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