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Efficacy of Antimicrobials on Bacteria Cultured in a Spaceflight AnalogueAs humans travel in space, they will interact with microbial flora from themselves, other crewmembers, their food, and the environment. While evaluations of microbial ecology aboard the Mir and ISS suggest a predominance of common environmental flora, the presence of (and potential for) infectious agents has been well documented. Likewise, pathogens have been detected during preflight monitoring of spaceflight food, resulting in the disqualification of that production lot from flight. These environmental and food organisms range from the obligate pathogen, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium), which has been responsible for disqualification and removal of food destined for ISS and has previously been reported from Shuttle crew refuse, to the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, isolated numerous times from ISS habitable compartments and the crew. Infectious disease events have affected spaceflight missions, including an upper respiratory infection that delayed the launch of STS-36 and an incapacitating Pseudomonas aeruginosa urinary tract infection of a crewmember during Apollo 13. These observations indicate that the crew has the potential to be exposed to obligate and opportunistic pathogens. This risk of exposure is expected to increase with longer mission durations and increased use of regenerative life support systems. As antibiotics are the primary countermeasure after infection, determining if their efficacy during spaceflight missions is comparable to terrestrial application is of critical importance. The NASA Rotating Wall Vessel (RWV) culture system has been successfully used as a spaceflight culture analogue to identify potential alterations in several key microbial characteristics, such as virulence and gene regulation, in response to spaceflight culture. We hypothesized that bacteria cultured in the low fluid shear RWV environment would demonstrate changes in efficacy of antibiotics compared to higher fluid shear controls. This study investigated the response of three medically significant microorganisms grown in the RWV to antibiotics that could be used on spaceflight missions. Our findings suggest potential alterations in antibiotic efficacy during spaceflight and indicate that future studies on the antibiotic response require additional basic research using the RWV and/or true spaceflight. However, while this analogue has reinforced these potential alterations, the results suggest the best approach for applied forward work is evaluating an in vivo system during spaceflight, including human and rodent studies. The complex nature of the analysis for many antibiotics and organism suggests the best approach to determine in vivo responses during pharmaceutical treatment is evaluating an in vivo system during spaceflight.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Nickerson, CA
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Wotring, Virginia
(Universities Space Research Association Houston, TX, United States)
Barrila, Jennifer
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Crabbe, Aurelie
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Castro, Sarah
(Eagle Applied Sciences San Antonio, TX, United States)
Davis, Richard
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Rideout, April
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
McCarthy, Breanne
(Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)
Ott, C. Mark
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
June 10, 2014
Publication Date
February 12, 2014
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 2014 NASA HRP Investigator Workshop
Location: Galveston, TX
Country: United States
Start Date: February 12, 2014
End Date: February 13, 2014
Sponsors: NASA Johnson Space Center
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 466199
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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