Cynthia H. Collins, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.
There is an urgent need to understand the effects of microgravity on the growth, cellular physiology, and cell-cell interactions in microbial biofilms. This information can then be used to curtail harmful activities of microbial consortia thriving as biofilms on the International Space Station and for the long-term success of human space exploration. Bacterial biofilms were abundant on Mir space station and were responsible for increasing corrosion and blocking a water purification system. Health and safety hazards linked to the development of biofilms are also of great concern, including increased rates of infection due to the enhanced survival of organisms within biofilms and increased resilience of biofilm populations to antimicrobial compounds.
The Micro-2A experiment is a follow-on study to the Micro-2 experiment that flew on STS-132 in May 2010. This experiment will continue to study how gravity alters biofilm formation with the goal of developing new strategies to reduce their impact on the operation of spacecrafts and the health of their crew.
The Micro-2A experiment will make use of BioServe's flight certified hardware: Group Activation Packs (GAPs) stored in a Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA). The CGBA is a flight certified incubator capable of controlling the temperature between 4°C and 37°C and can hold up to 16 GAPs. Each GAP holds eight Fluid Processing Apparatus (FPA) inserts. The FPA is composed of a glass barrel divided into three chambers that are separated from one another by rubber septa. Each FPA will contain growth medium with membranes in chamber A, a microbial culture suspended in stasis medium in chamber B, and a termination reagent in chamber C.
Launch & Return: STS-135 / ULF-7 Sortie Flight
Projected launch: July 8, 2011
Final Shuttle Atlantis Flight
Experiment Title: Gravitational Effects on Biofilm Formation During Spaceflight
Principal Investigator: Cynthia H. Collins, Ph.D.
Purpose: Understand the effects of microgravity on the growth, cellular physiology, and cell-cell interactions in microbial biofilms
Specimens: Pseudomonas aeruginosa & Staphylococcus aureus
* 16 Group Activation Pack (GAP) will be utilized with 1 Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (CGBA)
* Middeck Locker
* 8 Flight GAPs & 8 Ground GAPs
* 8 Fluid Processing Apparatus (FPA) per GAP
|Principal Investigator||Cynthia H. Collins, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York|
|Co-Investigator||Joel L. Plawsky, Sc.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York|
|Project Scientist||Macarena Parra, Ph. D., Lockheed Martin, ARC|
|Hardware and Integration||Louis Stodieck, Ph.D., BioServe Space Technologies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO|