Intraspecific differences in bacterial responses to modelled reduced gravity.

Research paper by P W PW Baker, L G LG Leff

Indexed on: 20 Apr '05Published on: 20 Apr '05Published in: Journal of Applied Microbiology


Bacteria are important residents of water systems, including those of space stations which feature specific environmental conditions, such as lowered effects of gravity. The purpose of this study was to compare responses with modelled reduced gravity of space station, water system bacterial isolates with other isolates of the same species.Bacterial isolates, Stenotrophomonas paucimobilis and Acinetobacter radioresistens, originally recovered from the water supply aboard the International Space Station (ISS) were grown in nutrient broth under modelled reduced gravity. Their growth was compared with type strains S. paucimobilis ATCC 10829 and A. radioresistens ATCC 49000. Acinetobacter radioresistens ATCC 49000 and the two ISS isolates showed similar growth profiles under modelled reduced gravity compared with normal gravity, whereas S. paucimobilis ATCC 10829 was negatively affected by modelled reduced gravity.These results suggest that microgravity might have selected for bacteria that were able to thrive under this unusual condition. These responses, coupled with impacts of other features (such as radiation resistance and ability to persist under very oligotrophic conditions), may contribute to the success of these water system bacteria.Water quality is a significant factor in many environments including the ISS. Efforts to remove microbial contaminants are likely to be complicated by the features of these bacteria which allow them to persist under the extreme conditions of the systems.