Not-So-Clean Rooms

In researching previous studies conducted on microbes in space for Project MERCURRI, I ran across an interesting microbiology diversity study done on European Spacecraft-Associated (ESA) clean rooms in the Herschel Space Observatory. Historically, clean rooms are supposedly “sterile” environments that are used for the building and maintenance of spacecrafts, as directed by the UN’s Outer Space planetary …

The Astronaut Microbiome

The human microbiome and microbes in space are two of the sexiest topics in microbiology today. Together they have attracted the attention of the J. Craig Venter Institute. Hernan Lorenzi is leading a team to study how the composition of the human microbiome changes during long term space exploration. They will be analyzing the microbiome of …

NASA report of interest (from 2012): Genetic inventory (of spacecraft) task final report

Just discovered this report: BEACON eSpace at Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Genetic inventory task final report.  It is a summary of genetic studies of microbes found on various spacecraft and associated facilities. Abstract: Contaminant terrestrial microbiota could profoundly impact the scientific integrity of extraterrestrial life-detection experiments. It is therefore important to know what organisms persist on spacecraft …

Altered gene expression by Candida albicans in space

Sometimes blogging on microBEnet feels a bit like a MadLib.   There are certain recurring themes that fit the model well. For example: __________ (microbe) was recently found to do _______________ (cool thing)… IN SPAAAAACE!  This has implications for future manned spaceflight missions. So here we go for today: The fungal pathogen Candida albicans was recently …

Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space Project

It’s becoming increasingly well-established that microbes behave differently in microgravity than on Earth… that’s one of the justifications for our own Project MERCCURI.   Some previous work has focused on the ability of microbes to survive higher-than-normal levels of antibiotics when grown in space, though the mechanism for this is not at all understood. This article …