Centennial, Colo. — January 16, 2018 — AlloSource, one of the nation’s largest providers of cartilage, bone, skin, soft-tissue and cellular allografts, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) co-authored a scientific publication titled “Detection of antimicrobial resistance genes associated with the International Space Station environmental surfaces” that was published today in Nature’s Scientific Reports.
Manned space flights have always been accompanied by the human microbiome, which travels with the astronauts through the duration of the missions and remains on the International Space Station (ISS). Previous studies on the ISS have acknowledged and identified many of the microbes capable of surviving spaceflight. This is the first study to use molecular methods to characterize genes from ISS environmental samples that are potentially involved in resisting a variety of antimicrobial agents. Microorganisms will always be present in human-based spaceflight, so microbial studies of the ISS are critical for the development of mitigation procedures on future long-duration missions.
“As an organization dedicated to advancing healthcare, this study was an exciting new way for us to leverage our scientific expertise to benefit the groundbreaking research NASA and JPL are conducting,” said Peter Stevens, PhD, AlloSource Chief New Ventures Officer. “We are proud of our microbiology team’s work on this project and honored to support JPL’s efforts as they identify ways to better understand antimicrobial resistance.”
AlloSource’s laboratory supported the study by assaying antimicrobial characteristics of select ISS microorganisms using traditional disc diffusion assays while JPL authors analyzed the prevalence of the antimicrobial resistance genes associated with ISS environmental surfaces. The unique environment of the ISS provides information about the antimicrobial activities of bacteria that are not easily replicated in a laboratory. Insights gathered from the ISS studies have the potential to positively impact microbial control in a variety of healthcare environments.
In addition to research collaboration on ISS microbiology, AlloSource continues to leverage technologies developed by NASA and JPL for assembly and launch operations of various Mars missions to advance microbial research in tissue processing, such as rapid molecular microbial burden measurement and genetic inventory cataloging.