ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts
A New concept of a life support system for aquatic animals using the
N. Hiesgen1, E. Horn2, U. Kübler1, S.
Lämmlein3, and A. Schwarzwälder1.
Space Transportation, Friedrichshafen, Germany; 2Gravitational
Physiology, University, Ulm, Germany; 3University of Applied
Sciences, Regensburg, Germany.
miniaquarium was successfully used during two space missions
(STS-84, 1997; Soyuz taxi flight Andromède,
to expose Xenopus leavis tadpoles to microgravity.
So far, its
use is limited to early developmental stages and to a flight period of up to
10 days. This is the period of life during which feeding is not necessary
because the embryos have enough yolk to survive. The use of older stages and
longer flight periods needs an additional unit to clean the water and feed the
organisms (cf. Sebastian et al., Acta Astronautica 42:419-430, 1998). A system
has been developed by which tadpoles survive for at least 1 month at a high
percentage up to stage 56. It includes (1) a mechanical cleaning device made
of cotton and foam filters and (2) a biological conversion of
to nitrite (N02-) and
finally to nitrate (NO3-)
using nitrifying bacteria. In the last cleaning
step (3) the mentioned toxic compounds are removed and stored by highly
effective absorber materials. The system can
in a dark environment, because no plants are needed. A closed circular water
flow is produced by a miniaturised peristaltic pump. After the clarification
process a liquid and suitable food is added. This arrangement was tested
several times. Survival rates of up to 85% were reached.
A prototype has been built in which liquid food is introduced into the
system using an osmotic pump. It is filled once and provides the aquarium with
food at a constant rate between
2 to 10
weeks, depending of the pump model. No crew interaction is needed. This supply
unit developed for the miniaquarium system can be used for Xenopus
laevis and other aquatic organisms.
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