Selenium Coating of Water Distribution Tubing to Inhibit Biofilm 2008-01-2158
Microbial control in closed environmental systems, such as those of spacecraft or proposed base missions is typically limited to disinfection in the potable water system by a strong chemical agent such as iodine or chlorine. However, biofilm growth in the environmental system tubing threatens both the sterility of the potable water distribution as well as operational problems with wastewater systems. In terrestrial systems, biofilm has been recognized for its difficulty to control and eliminate as well as resulting operational problems. In order to maintain a potable water source for crew members as well as preventing operational problems in non-sterile systems, biofilm needs to be considered during system design. While biofilm controls can limit biofilm buildup, they are typically disruptive and cannot completely eliminate biofilm. Selenium coatings have shown to prevent initial biofilm attachment as well as limit attached growth on a variety of materials. Results of selenium coating silicone tubing show a significant reduction in the number of colony forming units removed from a tubing surface as a dramatic visual difference between uncoated and coated tubing.