Role of Environmental Factors in Immunity and Infectious Disease Risk
Environmental monitoring of microbial contaminants is important for crew health and assessing functionality of engineering systems. Routine monitoring of air and surfaces on the International Space Station found Staphylococcus spp. to be the most common bacterial species whereas Aspergillus spp. were the most common fungi. The levels of microbial contaminants in the air and surfaces were typically low and within the acceptability limits. Bacterial levels in the potable water from the hot water port were uniformly low. Levels in water from the warm port and the SVO-ZV water distribution system exceeded acceptability limits on occasion. Methylobacterium spp. And Ralstonia spp. were the bacteria most commonly isolated from the potable water systems. The space environment, stress, and other factors may also diminish the host immune system. The status of antimicrobial functions of neutrophils and monocytes was determined by flow cytometry.