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Addressing the fungal contamination – testing antifungal materials and radiation-driven decontamination methods

Koch, S.M. and Cortesao, M. and Hellweg, C.E. and Müller, D. and Fiebrandt, M. and Moeller, R. (2019) Addressing the fungal contamination – testing antifungal materials and radiation-driven decontamination methods. EANA 2019, 3 – 6 September 2019, Orléans, France.

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Abstract

Filamentous fungi such as Aspergillus and Penicillium sp. (also known as “mold”) represent some of the predominant contaminations found onboard the Mir (Russian Space Station) and the International Space Station (ISS). Aspergillus sp. have been found in NASA clean rooms belonging to Johnson Space Center Curation Laboratory as well as in spacecraft assembly facilities. As spores, they can spread and survive under extreme and seemingly sterile conditions.1 With regard to human health, these filamentous fungi are capable to release a wide range of organic volatile compounds and mycotoxins. They are one of the most abundant human associated opportunistic pathogens, causing allergies and various disease patterns to humans with compromised immune system. Their presence in manned spaceflight missions can cause complex risks due to their fast growth, spore forming and dispersal, high tolerance to disinfectants and wide metabolic activity. Aspergillus sp. are also known material degraders and a cause for food spoilage. The resistance of fungal spores towards the spaceflight-relevant conditions needs to be explored and understood. It is and will be crucial to monitor and control fungal dispersal and growth in spaceflight indoor settings and material contamination. In our research, we aim to find efficient and innovative decontamination methods to either prevent fungal spore distribution, growth or spore inactivation. In preliminary experiments we tested the resistance of fungal spores to low pressure plasma sterilization, UV-C and copper-containing metal surfaces. Spores of Aspergillus niger with a black pigmentation (melanized) are more resistant to low pressure plasma sterilization and UV-C irradiation as melanin-deficient (less pigmented) mutant spores. This suggests that the pigmentation of a fungal spore acts as a photoprotectant and enhances fungal spore resistance. In order to prevent spore dispersal and attachment, we tested different types of metal surfaces, e.g. with and without copper, on their effects on spore vitality. Here, especially copper ions seem to have a reducing effect of fungal spore survivability when drawing conclusions in comparison to the reference material (steel). Summarizing, our results signify a high tolerance of fungal spores of A. niger towards various decontamination parameters showing the urgent need of novel or combined decontaminations methods for upcoming and planned space missions.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/129880/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Title:Addressing the fungal contamination – testing antifungal materials and radiation-driven decontamination methods
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Koch, S.M.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Cortesao, M.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Marta.Cortesao (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6603-1211
Hellweg, C.E.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany; Christine.Hellweg (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2223-3580
Müller, D.Department of Material Science of Engineering, Institute of Functional Materials, Material Engineering Center Saarland (MECS), Saarland, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Fiebrandt, M.Institute for Electrical Engineering and Plasma Technology (AEPT), Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Moeller, R.Radiation Biology Department, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Cologne, Germany.; ralf.moeller (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2371-0676
Date:4 September 2019
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:fungal contamination, antifungal materials, radiation-driven decontamination methods, manned spaceflight missions
Event Title:EANA 2019
Event Location:Orléans, France
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:3 – 6 September 2019
Organizer:European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA)
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: Kopp, Kerstin
Deposited On:30 Oct 2019 15:02
Last Modified:30 Oct 2019 15:02

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