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Recovery of Bacillus Spore Contaminants from Rough Surfaces: a Challenge to Space Mission Cleanliness Control

Probst, Alexander and Facius, Rainer and Wirth, Reinhard and Wolf, Marco and Moissl-Eichinger, Christine (2011) Recovery of Bacillus Spore Contaminants from Rough Surfaces: a Challenge to Space Mission Cleanliness Control. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 77 (5), pp. 1628-1637. American Society for Microbiology. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02037-10.

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Abstract

Microbial contaminants on spacecraft can threaten the scientific integrity of space missions due to probable interference with life detection experiments. Therefore, space agencies measure the cultivable spore load (“bioburden”) of a spacecraft. A recent study has reported an insufficient recovery of Bacillus atrophaeus spores from Vectran fabric, a typical spacecraft airbag material (A. Probst, R. Facius, R. Wirth, and C. Moissl- Eichinger, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 76:5148-5158, 2010). Here, 10 different sampling methods were compared for B. atrophaeus spore recovery from this rough textile, revealing significantly different efficiencies (0.5 to 15.4%). The most efficient method, based on the wipe-rinse technique (foam-spatula protocol; 13.2% efficiency), was then compared to the current European Space Agency (ESA) standard wipe assay in sampling four different kinds of spacecraft-related surfaces. Results indicate that the novel protocol out-performed the standard method with an average efficiency of 41.1% compared to 13.9% for the standard method. Additional experiments were performed by sampling Vectran fabric seeded with seven different spore concentrations and five different Bacillus species (B. atrophaeus, B. anthracis Sterne, B. megaterium, B. thuringiensis, and B. safensis). Among these, B. atrophaeus spores were recovered with the highest (13.2%) efficiency and B. anthracis Sterne spores were recovered with the lowest (0.3%) efficiency. Different inoculation methods of seeding spores on test surfaces (spotting and aerosolization) resulted in different spore recovery efficiencies. The results of this study provide a step forward in understanding the spore distribution on and recovery from rough surfaces. The results presented will contribute relevant knowledge to the fields of astrobiology and B. anthracis research.

Document Type:Article
Title:Recovery of Bacillus Spore Contaminants from Rough Surfaces: a Challenge to Space Mission Cleanliness Control
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Probst, Alexander Institute of Microbiology and Archaea Center, University of Regensburg, Universitaetsstrasse 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany and Lander Systems and Space Robotics, Astrium Space Transportation, Airbus Allee 1, 28199 Bremen, Germany
Facius, Rainer German Aerospace Center, Linder Hoehe, 51147 Cologne, Germany
Wirth, Reinhard Institute of Microbiology and Archaea Center, University of Regensburg, Universitaetsstrasse 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
Wolf, MarcoLander Systems and Space Robotics, Astrium Space Transportation, Airbus Allee 1, 28199 Bremen, Germany
Moissl-Eichinger, Christine Institute of Microbiology and Archaea Center, University of Regensburg, Universitaetsstrasse 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
Date:2011
Journal or Publication Title:Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Refereed publication:Yes
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:77
DOI:10.1128/AEM.02037-10
Page Range:pp. 1628-1637
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology
Status:Published
Keywords:B. anthracis, microbial contaminants on spacecraft, cultivable spore load (“bioburden”) of a spacecraft, European Space Agency (ESA) standard wipe assay, Astrobiology
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Forschung unter Weltraumbedingungen
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Strahlenbiologie
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Radiation Biology
Deposited By: Kerstin Kopp
Deposited On:15 Dec 2011 14:21
Last Modified:04 Apr 2013 16:33

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