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Efficacy of Various Chemical Disinfectants on Biofilms Formed in Spacecraft Potable Water System ComponentAs the provision of potable water is critical for successful habitation of the International Space Station (ISS), life support systems were installed in December 2008 to recycle both humidity from the atmosphere and urine to conserve available water in the vehicle. Pre-consumption testing from the dispensing needle at the Potable Water Dispenser (PWD) indicated that bacterial concentrations exceeded the current ISS specifications of 50 colony forming units (CFU) per ml. Subsequent investigations revealed that a corrugated stainless steel flex hose upstream of the dispensing needle in the PWD was filled with non-sterile water and left at room temperature for over one month before launch. To simulate biofilm formation that was suspected in the flight system, sterile flex hoses were seeded with a consortium of bacterial isolates previously recovered from other ISS water systems, which included Ralstonia pickettii, Burkholderia multivorans, Caulobacter vibrioides., and Cupriavidus pauculus. After 5 days of incubation, these hoses were challenged with various chemical disinfectants including hydrogen peroxide, colloidal silver, and buffered pH solutions to determine the ability of the disinfectants to decrease and maintain bacterial concentrations below ISS specifications. Disinfection efficacy over time was measured by collecting daily heterotrophic plate counts following exposure to the disinfectants. A single flush with either 6% hydrogen peroxide solution or a mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 400 ppb colloidal silver effectively reduced the bacterial concentrations to less than 1 CFU/ml for a period of up to 2 months. Testing results indicated that hydrogen peroxide and mixtures of hydrogen peroxide and colloidal silver have tremendous potential as alternative disinfectants for ISS water systems.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Wong, Willy (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Garcia, Veronica (Wyle Integrated Science and Engineering Group Houston, TX, United States)
Castro, Victoria (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Ott, Mark (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Duane (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Man/System Technology and Life Support
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
American Society for Microbiology Conference on Biofilms(Cancun)
Distribution Limits