Chernobyl Fungi in Space

Just a quick post about the fact that researchers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are sending radiation resistant (even radiation-loving) fungi for some experiments on the International Space Station (ISS).  They are looking for changes that occur in microgravity after growth for 14 days on the ISS with respect to ground control strains.  Very …

New papers on microbiology of the built environment, April 29, 2016

New papers on microbes and the built environment. Microbes and fermenting households Samples collected through the Second Annual San Diego Fermentation Festival: From Sample to Multi-Omics Conclusions in under 48 Hours – Robert A. Quinn – mSystems (OA) (…) Here, we applied a novel integrated omics pipeline for the analysis of human and environmental samples in under …

New papers on microbiology of the built environment, December 24, 2015

Happy Holidays!  As I already noted on my MicrobiomeDigest blog, the stream of scientific papers does not seem to take a holiday break, so I will keep on posting new papers here. Clean sweep Potential association of vacuum cleaning frequency with an altered gut microbiota in pregnant women and their 2-year-old children — Ekaterina Avershina …

Workshop on Planetary Protection Knowledge Gaps for Human Extraterrestrial Missions (Reverse Contamination)

This is the third of three posts about the planetary protection workshop I attended at NASA Ames from March 24-26, 2015. The first is here. I mentioned, in my last post on forward contamination, that reverse contamination is the primary concern for Planetary Protection (PP). In this context, reverse contamination refers to the transport of Martian …

The 11.4 million mile swab kit

I’m proud to announce that the sample collection for the building science component of Project MERCCURI is complete! In early May, Koichi Wakata from JAXA (Japan’s space exploration agency) collected swabs swabs of surfaces aboard the International Space Station. Back in June last year, Jenna, Wendy and I went to the Johnson Space Center in …

The Astronaut Microbiome

The human microbiome and microbes in space are two of the sexiest topics in microbiology today. Together they have attracted the attention of the J. Craig Venter Institute. Hernan Lorenzi is leading a team to study how the composition of the human microbiome changes during long term space exploration. They will be analyzing the microbiome of …

Altered gene expression by Candida albicans in space

Sometimes blogging on microBEnet feels a bit like a MadLib.   There are certain recurring themes that fit the model well. For example: __________ (microbe) was recently found to do _______________ (cool thing)… IN SPAAAAACE!  This has implications for future manned spaceflight missions. So here we go for today: The fungal pathogen Candida albicans was recently …

Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space Project

It’s becoming increasingly well-established that microbes behave differently in microgravity than on Earth… that’s one of the justifications for our own Project MERCCURI.   Some previous work has focused on the ability of microbes to survive higher-than-normal levels of antibiotics when grown in space, though the mechanism for this is not at all understood. This article …