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Mycological Evaluation of Crew Exposure to ISS Ambient Air (Myco)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

It is well known that a living and working environment in the International Space Station (ISS) has been progressively contaminated by a number of microorganisms since the beginning of its construction. These microorganisms may cause serious life-threatening diseases and allergies if the immune system is compromised. The objective of this study was to evaluate the risk of inhalation of microorganisms when breathing and of adhesion to the skin which is exposed to ambient air during a stay in the ISS. The detailed analysis included culture-based analyses and the latest molecular genetics methods which focused particularly on fungi which act as strong allergens in a living environment. Microbiota of these samples is thought to be strongly reflected by that of the ISS environment, which has a completely closed orbital living space under microgravity.

The Myco experiment was one in a series of studies on exposure biology. It has already been reported that a number of microorganisms have been detected in space stations such as the Russian Mir and the ISS. Penicillium sp. and Aspergillus sp. have been dominant fungal species in both of these space stations. It is well known that Penicillium sp. and Aspergillus sp. act as strong allergens in our living environment and allergies that are caused by these molds is recognized as a serious problem from the medical point of view. Many researchers are studying the correlation between environmental microbiota and allergic reactions caused by an exposure to a living environment.

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Makimura K, Satoh K, Sugita T, Yamazaki TQ. Fungal Biota in Manned Space Environment and Impact on Human Health. Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2011; 66(1): 77-82.[] [Japanese]

Colony count, microbial

Data Information
Data Availability
Archiving in progress. Data is not yet available for this experiment.

Alternaria ssp count
Aspergillus ssp count
bacterial and fungal microbiota evaluation
Candida ssp count
Malassezia ssp count
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Expedition 22 11/30/2009 03/18/2010 109 days
Expedition 23 03/18/2010 06/01/2010 75 days
Expedition 24 06/01/2010 09/25/2010 117 days
Expedition 25 09/24/2010 11/25/2010 31 days
Expedition 26 11/26/2010 03/16/2011 111 days
Expedition 27 03/14/2011 05/23/2011 70 days
Expedition 28 05/23/2011 09/15/2011 115 days
Expedition 29 09/16/2011 11/21/2011 40 days
Expedition 43 03/11/2015 06/10/2015 91 days
Expedition 44 06/10/2015 09/11/2015 93 days
Expedition 45 09/11/2015 12/11/2015 91 days
Expedition 46 12/11/2015 03/02/2016 82 days
STS-130 02/08/2010 02/21/2010 14 days
STS-131 04/05/2010 04/20/2010 15 days
STS-132 05/14/2010 05/26/2010 12 days
STS-133 02/24/2011 03/09/2011 13 days
STS-134 05/16/2011 06/01/2011 16 days
STS-135 07/08/2011 07/21/2011 13 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
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)