Microbial Distribution in the Environmental Control and Life Support System Water Recovery Test Conducted at NASA, MSFC 911377

NASA/MSFC is developing a physical/chemical treatment system to reclaim wastewater for reuse on Space Station Freedom (SSF). Integrated testing of hygiene and potable water subsystems assessed the capability to reclaim water to SSF specifications (1)*. The test was conducted from May through July 1990 with a total of 47 days of system test operation. Water samples were analyzed using standard cultural methods employing membrane filtration and spread plate techniques and epifluorescence microscopy. Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) and biochemical profiles were used for microbial identification. Analysis of waste and product water produced by the subsystems demonstrated the effective reduction of viable microbial populations greater than 8.0E+06 colony forming units (CFU) per 100 mL to an average of 5 CFU/100 mL prior to distribution into storage tanks. Predominant microbial species isolated from product water included heterotrophs commonly isolated from water and soil and normal flora from the human body.


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