ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts


BACTERIAL GROWTH UNDER SIMULATED MICROGRAVITY CONDITIONS  P.W. Baker and L.G. Leff   Dept. of Biologcal Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44243.

   Drinking water aboard the space station and shuttles may contain low concentrations of bacteria that could potentially pose a risk to water quality.  These bacteria remain viable under oligotrophic conditions and may enter into “starvation survival” mode.  How these bacteria are able to survive and grow in oligotrophic conditions in a microgravity environment is uncertain.  In this study bacteria originally isolated from the Mir Space Station were inoculated into high/low nutrient media or water and examined under simulated microgravity using clino-rotation  using a Rotary Cell Culture Systemt (Synthecon).  Growth of these bacteria in high nutrient medium showed higher cell numbers under simulated microgravity compared to normal gravity.  These results correlate well with previous findings using Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis.  However, growth in low nutrient medium revealed that there were no significant differences between simulated microgravity and normal gravity.  When the bacteria were inoculated into water, some specific responses were observed for one of the bacterial isolates.  Specifically one of the bacterial isolates showed significant differences in bacterial attachment to stainless steel disks in high and low nutrient medium under simulated microgravity compared to normal gravity.  Other factors such as cell size, type of medium used and speed of clino-rotation were also investigated. 

(Supported by NASA grant NAG 2-1497)


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