Our #ISS Microbiome Paper in PeerJ

So a number of years ago our lab embarked on Project MERCCURI (let’s not talk about the tortured acronym).  This complex and citizen science-based collaboration (website here) has been a fascinating journey.  It’s ranged from getting to watch a rocket launch in Florida, to discovering/describing a new bacterial species, to our most recent publication… the …

Microbial biodiversity assessment of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2016 mission

Determining if life exists or ever existed beyond Earth is one of the most interesting scientific questions. Reports on numerous habitable planets have increased the speculations about potential extra-terrestrial life. However, these theoretically life-supporting planets are far beyond human’s reach – except Mars. In order to explore if there ever was life on Mars, the …

Preparing for the crewed Mars journey: Microbiota dynamics in the confined Mars500 habitat during simulated Mars flight and landing

Human exploration of planet Mars has a long history with number of robotic missions surveying the Martian surface and environment, including  the Viking program (1975), the Mars Exploration Rover Mission (2003), the Phoenix lander (2008), and the Mars Science Laboratory (2012). For the future human space exploration, crewed Mars mission is considered as one of …

Today in possibly interesting science but needless fear mongering ..

So this sounds like there may be some interesting science going on here: Zero gravity had unexpected effects on E. coli samples, causing them to behave differently. That could present problems trying to treat them. Source: Space-Grown Bacteria Could Pose Major Problems for Astronauts But the article includes a bunch of needless fear mongering. What …

Eclipse brings out a cool citizen microbiology project

When I first saw the headline on this I groaned a little, thinking this was some completely bogus type of project.  But actually, upon reading about it in more detail it sounds like a really good public engagement project involving the eclipse, students, space, and microbes. The article: Most-watched eclipse in history could answer the …

Journal Club: Metagenomics on the Space Station

Microbes in space have been of interest to the folks at various space agencies for as long as we’ve been sending people into space.  Rampant mold growth on the Russian Space Station Mir was probably one of the reasons for the decision to “deorbit” the station (a fancy way of describing crashing into the ocean).  …

New papers on Microbiology of the Built Environment, June 3, 2017

Microbes indoors DNA metabarcoding to assess indoor fungal communities: Electrostatic dust collectors and Illumina sequencing – Steffi Rocchi – Journal of Microbiological Methods ($39.95) Our study aimed to evaluate metabarcoding and bioinformatic analysis resulting from calibrated samples and samples collected by an electrostatic dust collector (EDC) in dwellings with no moisture problems. Thus, the fungal communities of …

NASA MoBE Postdoctoral Fellowship: Virulence and Drug Resistance of Burkholderia and Ralstonia species isolated from the ISS potable water systems

The disease-causing organisms Burkholderia multivorans, B. cepacia, genomovars of the B. cepacia complex (BCC), as well as an unclassified species of Burkholderia, and its relatives Ralstonia pickettii and R. insidiosa account for 60% of the bacterial isolates obtained from the filtrated water system on board the International Space Station (ISS). Members of these genera can …