The researchers found that life on the International Space Station (ISS) could change the “super-mistakes.”
Researchers and microbiologists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory found that there were five different types of Enterobacter in the toilets and exercise areas on the ISS.
Earlier studies have shown that being in space distorted errors and led them to "supercharging" because they adapted to the new environment in space. This led to mutations in the microbes and changed them. Some bacteria have been found to have more than 10 mutations in space, which increases their ability to reproduce.
View from the ISS. Image Credit: Dima Zel / NASA / Shutterstock
It was noted that these bacteria form biofilms on equipment and the growth of biofilms is faster than the growth of similar biofilms on Earth. This meant rapid reproduction of these bacteria.
Dr. Nitin Singh, the first author of the study, said: “Given the results of multidrug resistance for these ISS genomes and the increased likelihood of pathogenicity that we identified, these types potentially represent important health considerations for future missions … However, it is important that to understand that the strains detected on the ISS were not virulent, which means that they are not an active threat to human health, but something that needs to be controlled. ”
However, computer simulations and simulations show that these altered bacteria have a 79 percent chance of becoming virulent and causing human disease. On earth, these bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics and can infect only those who have compromised immunity. This may not be the case in space, the team explains, because they have 112 genes in common with pathogenic bacteria on Earth.
These Enterobacter strains have been found to be resistant to antibiotics such as cefazolin, cefoxitin, oxacillin, penicillin and rifampin and others.
JPL regularly analyzes microbes from space stations to see if they can damage astronauts in any way or affect sensitive equipment. Microbiologist Kassuri Venkateswaran said in his statement: “In order to show which types of bacteria were present on the ISS, we used various methods to describe their genomes in detail. We found that the genomes of the five Enterobacter ISS strains were genetically the most similar to the three strains recently discovered on Earth. ” She added: “These three strains belonged to the same type of bacteria, called Enterobacter bugandensiswhich was found to cause illness in the newborn and the compromised patient, who were hospitalized in three different hospitals (in East Africa, Washington and Colorado). ”
These samples have been since 2015. Venkateswaran said: “Regardless of whether the opportunistic pathogen is E. bugandensis causes disease and the degree of threat depends on a number of factors, including environmental … Further in vivo studies are needed to identify the effect of these conditions on the ISS, such as microgravity, other space and spacecraft-related factors, may have pathogenicity and virulence.