Ecology of Micro-organisms in a Small Closed System: Potential Benefits and Problems for Space Station 891491

The probable sources and implications of microbial contamination on the proposed space station are discussed. Because of the limited availability of material, facilities and time on the space station, we are exploring the feasibility of replacing traditional incubation methods for assessing microbial contamination with rapid, automated methods. Some possibilities include: ATP measurement, microscopy and telecommunications, and molecular techniques such as DNA probes or monoclonal antibodies. Some of the important ecological factors that could alter microbes in space include microgravity, exposure to radiation, and antibiotic resistance.


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