MOSCOW, January 17. /TASS/. Researchers of Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems who have been studying samples from the internal surface of the Zarya module on the International Space Station (ISS) for several years have discovered over 20 microorganisms, according to materials released for the 46th Korolyov Readings conference on cosmonautics on Monday.
"As a result of onboard experiments carried out inside the ISS functional cargo module during the work of five basic expeditions, over 20 types of microorganisms were extracted from the habitat and identified, including the presence of conditionally pathogenic bacteria and fungi," the materials say.
The habitat of the module and the entire Russian segment of the ISS is an environmental niche home to bacteria and microscopic fungi, the materials suggest. "These microorganisms use the station’s decorative-finishing and design materials as their basic habitat," according to the materials.
The experiment aboard the ISS involved taking samples and delivering them to Earth in descent modules. In the course of three years, over 200 samples were taken, with bacteria discovered in 34% and fungi in 3% of them.
"In 5% of the samples with the presence of bacterial microflora and in 100% of the samples with the presence of fungal microflora, the standard indicator regulated by SSP 50260 NORD was exceeded," the materials say.
In particular, the scientists discovered gram-positive cocci, spore-forming, gram-negative aerobic or facultative aerobic bacilli. The conditionally pathogenic species included opportunistic infection agents (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus sp.) and Bacillus spore-forming bacteria.
The 46th Academic Readings on Cosmonautics devoted to Soviet rocket designer Sergey Korolyov will run at Moscow’s Bauman State Technical University on January 25-28.