A team analyzing bacteria on the ISS discovered different genes in space bacteria than similar bacteria on Earth.
While harsh radiation and a “weightless” environment make International Space Station microbes mutate, there’s no danger of them turning into superbugs resistant to antibiotics, a new study shows.
A team analyzing bacteria on the space station discovered different genes in the space bacteria than similar bacteria on Earth. The space genes, however, won’t hurt the astronauts.
he researchers looked at several types of common and harmless microbes, such as Staphylococcus aureus, which normally lives on human skin. On Earth, the investigators collected the staph directly from human skin, but on the space station, they asked astronauts to pick up the staph on different space station surfaces. This was to remove the possibility of variation from human to human.
“Our findings are also similar,” said Hartmann of her team’s new study. “This is reassuring because obviously we don’t want to be sending people up to space in tightly sealed bubbles full of pathogens or pathogens-to-be. The caveat is that there is a huge amount of bacterial diversity, so we can’t say even from looking at these three types of bacteria how all bacteria will respond. We should absolutely keep monitoring and keep doing research to understand how different types of bacteria respond to different built environment conditions, whether that’s in your home on Earth, in the ISS, or on a spacecraft off to Mars.”
Read more: https://www.seeker.com/space/superbugs-in-space-new-study-gives-reassurance-for-astronaut-health