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Technical Paper

Biofilm Formation and Control in a Simulated Spacecraft Water System: Two-Year Results

The ability of iodine to maintain microbial water quality in a simulated spacecraft water system is being studied. An iodine level of about 2.0 mg/L is maintained by passing ultrapure influent water through an iodinated ion exchange resin. Six liters are withdrawn daily and the chemical and microbial quality of the water is monitored regularly. Stainless steel coupons used to monitor biofilm formation are being analyzed by culture methods, epifluorescence microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. Results from the first two years of operation show a single episode of high bacterial colony counts in the iodinated system. This growth was apparently controlled by replacing the iodinated ion exchange resin. Scanning electron microscopy indicates that the iodine has limited but not completely eliminated the formation of biofilm during the first two years of operation.