Biostability and Microbiological Analysis of Shuttle Crew Refuse 2002-01-2356
Microbiological sampling and analysis was performed on the wet waste returned from the STS-105 and STS-108 shuttle missions servicing the International Space Station (ISS). Samples were collected from a variety of materials including plate waste and associated food packaging (which composed the majority of the collected waste), sanitary waste, and loose liquid inside the waste container. Analyses of the microbial loads cultured on both selective and non-selective media and through total bacterial counts by acridine orange direct count (AODC) methods showed high microbial densities in the waste container liquid. Isolates identified included Klebsiella pneumoniae, Serratia marcescens, Bacillus spp., Salmonella spp., and Escherichia coli (E.coli). Dry and ash weights were collected for each sample to determine water and organic content of the materials. Wastes from shuttle flights will continue to be monitored for biostability to establish a baseline measure of waste content, labile organics, and microbial load. The objective is to define the waste stream content and possible stabilization and recovery technologies that may be adapted for long duration missions.