Burkholderia cepacia Biofilm Growth and Disinfection in Microgravity 2001-01-2128
Long-term space flight missions will require high quality water to lessen the risk of crew infections and system deterioration. In water systems on earth, biofilms contribute to loss of water quality, causing corrosion, increased flow resistance and reduced heat transfer. Some bacteria grow more rapidly and become less susceptible to antimicrobial agents under conditions of microgravity, and humans may have weakened immunity with prolonged space flight. This study aimed to determine the effects of spaceflight and microgravity on biofilm formation by Burkholderia cepacia in water and microbial control by iodine. The results showed that B. cepacia formed biofilms when incubated in microgravity and in ground controls. Compared to rich medium or water, biofilms developed at similar densities in iodinated water. Thus, disinfection and maintenance of spacecraft water systems should take into account the difficulties of controlling attached bacteria, which are commonly encountered in earth-based systems.