Evaluation of Methods for Remediating Biofilms in Spacecraft Potable Water Systems 941388
Controlling microbial growth and biofilm formation in spacecraft water-distribution systems is necessary to protect the health of the crew. Methods to decontaminate the water system in flight may be needed to support long-term missions. We evaluated the ability of iodine and ozone to kill attached bacteria and remove biofilms formed on stainless steel coupons. The biofilms were developed by placing the coupons in a manifold attached to the effluent line of a simulated spacecraft water-distribution system. After biofilms were established, the coupons were removed and placed in a treatment manifold in a separate water treatment system where they were exposed to the chemical treatments for various periods. Disinfection efficiency over time was measured by counting the bacteria that could be recovered from the coupons using a sonication and plate count technique. Scanning electron microscopy was also used to determine whether the treatments actually removed the biofilm. The results show 25 mg/L of iodine, 250 mg/L of iodine, and 2.3 mg/L of ozone all effectively inactivated bacteria in the biofilm. However, none of these treatments could remove the biofilm that had attached to the stainless-steel surface.