Gap Micro-103: Evaluate whether atmospheric composition (for example, elevated CO2 levels) is a significant contributor to changes in the microbial profile of spaceflight.
Last Published:  11/23/20 11:55:10 AM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Health Countermeasures (HHC)
Status: Open
Description
Present state of knowledge: The increased ambient CO2 levels aboard the ISS poses a potential risk to the resident microbial communities both environmentally (air, surface, water) and physiologically (gut, nasal, skin microbiomes). Most studies performed in food microbiology, marine biology and terrestrial environmental biology suggest altered gene expression, selective bacterial inhibition, increased growth and diversity, and increased antibiotic resistance of bacterial communities individually and in biofilm formation when exposed to increased levels of CO2. These findings are based on levels of CO2 higher than would be found during spaceflight exploration missions, further warranting the necessity of evaluation for spaceflight conditions and clinically relevant microorganisms. The Exploration Atmosphere intended for use in planetary habitats and rovers is proposed to be comprised of 34% oxygen at a pressure of 8.2psi, which equates to an approximate earth altitude of 4000 ft and therefore creates a mildly hypobaric hypoxic environment. While the intent of using this atmosphere is to enable a more robust and flexible environment from which to conduct extravehicular activities (EVAs) the addition of this atmospheric parameter to a partial gravity and hypercarbic environment may also affect the microbial communities.

Research approach: Evaluation of microbial numbers, types, and virulence under different atmospheric exposures (e.g., elevated CO2 levels). A portion of this work (microbiome of the built environment, for example) is under the purview of NASA’s Space Biology (SB) program, and data will be shared between SB and HRP to form a comprehensive understanding of this gap. HRP will fund studies via solicited and directed mechanisms, including data mining, collaboration with the U.S. Navy for hypercarbic environment data, and ground-based analog work. 
Target for Closure
Understand the contribution of atmospheric composition to changes in microbial numbers, types and virulence.
Mappings
Risk Risk of Adverse Health Effects Due to Host-Microorganism Interactions
You are here! Gap Micro-103: Evaluate whether atmospheric composition (for example, elevated CO2 levels) is a significant contributor to changes in the microbial profile of spaceflight.
Completed
Planned-Funded

Documentation:
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