1991-07-01

Microbial Biofilm Studies of the Environmental Control and Life Support System Water Recovery Test for Space Station Freedom 911378

NASA is developing a Water Recovery System (WRS) for Space Station Freedom to reclaim human waste water for reuse by astronauts as hygiene or potable water. A Water Recovery Test (WRT) currently in progress investigates the performance of a prototype of the WRS. Analysis of biofilm accumulation, the potential for microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) in the WRT, and studies of iodine disinfection of biofilm are reported.
Analysis of WRT components indicated the presence of organic deposits and biofilms in selected tubing. Water samples from the WRT contained acid-producing and sulfate-reducing organisms implicated in corrosion processes. Corrosion of an aluminum alloy was accelerated in the presence of these water samples; however, stainless steel corrosion rates were not accelerated.
Biofilm iodine sensitivity tests using an experimental laboratory-scale recycled water system containing a microbial check valve (MCV) demonstrated that an iodine concentration of 1-2 mg/l was ineffective at eliminating microbial biofilm. For complete disinfection an initial concentration of 16 mg/l was required which was gradually reduced by the MCV over 4-8 hours to 1-2 mg/l. This treatment may be useful in controlling biofilm formation.

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