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Bacterial Detection: Correlation of an Automated Real-time System Operated <I>in situ</I> with Comprehensive Characterization in the Laboratory (NEEMO-SWAB)
Principal Investigators
Research Area:
Environmental monitoring
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Bacterial growth within human habitats is not unusual and usually poses no danger to the inhabitants. However, within isolated habitats, where air ventilation and circulation may be limited and the relative humidity high, the levels of bacterial growth may increase to levels high enough to pose a health hazard to the crew.

Bacterial endotoxin is found in many bacteria, and its concentration has been used as a relative assessment of bacterial levels. However, most traditional enumeration and identification techniques require days to complete. Habitat swab samples were analyzed with an automated real-time monitor of bacterial endotoxin, called the Portable Test System (PTS). The PTS was operated by the crew during the mission. The results were then correlated with advanced microbiological analysis of the same swab samples in the laboratory following the mission. This correlation will determine if this new system can detect trends in bacterial growth that could affect crew health.

At present, there is no rapid, real-time bacterial-detection device for crew use on the International Space Station (ISS). Monitoring of bacteria onboard requires the return of swab samples for microbiological analysis on the ground. This method provides high-quality identification of bacteria onboard, but with a significant time lag between swab sampling and results. The PTS will enable the crew to obtain quick, "on-the-spot" results of bacterial levels onboard, without assistance from the ground; a factor useful for crews on long duration missions, where supply/re-supply missions may be infrequent. The crew could test key locations (such as air-conditioning vents, fluids for injection, surfaces and the water system), identify "hot-spot" areas of rapid bacterial growth at an early stage, and use cleaning procedures to prevent potential hazards to crew health.

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. All data sets are on the Web site.
Data Sets + View data.

<I>Achromobacter xylosoxidans</I>
<I>Acremonium</I> species
<I>Aspergillus terreus</I>
<I>Aspergillus</I> species
<I>Candida lusitaniae</I>
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
NEEMO 5 06/16/2003 06/29/2003 14 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Hardware Items