Scientists have recently discovered antibiotic-resistant bacteria in toilets aboard the International Space Station. But do not worry, they are not harmful to humans – not yet.
Cleaning a toilet in space is no more fun than doing it on Earth, but it can give rise to other interesting surprises. Example: NASA scientists have discovered four previously unknown strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that hide in the ship's expanses. International Space Station (ISS).
In a new study published November 23 in the BMC Microbiology Journal, a team led by scientists from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, analyzed several bacterial samples collected around the ISS in 2015. These samples included four samples from the waste compartment and from the NASA. toilet hygiene. In these four space-toilet samples, plus a sample taken from the foot platform of a piece of resistance exercise equipment, researchers identified five strains of previously unknown viruses Enterobacter Bacteria – a genus that is highly resistant to antibiotics and often infects hospitalized patients with compromised immune systems.[[[[5 ways intestinal bacteria affect your health]
"To show what species of bacteria were present on the ISS, we used various methods to characterize their genomes in detail," said Kasthuri Venkateswaran, co-author of the study, principal investigator of the Protective Group. biotechnology and JPL planets, said in a statement. "We have revealed that the genomes of the five ISSs Enterobacter The strains were genetically the most similar to the three newly found strains on Earth. "
The team compared the DNA of the new ISS bacteria to that of more than 1,200 people. Enterobacter strains previously collected on Earth. The researchers concluded that the new strains found are most similar to the species. Enterobacter bugandensis. This kind of bacteria has recently been discovered in three hospitals around the world (in Africa, Washington State and Colorado), where it has shown an ability to cause diseases in humans and to resist multiple antibiotics.
While the new Enterobacter The ISS strains contained more than 100 genes previously related to virulence, disease and antibiotic resistance. The bacteria currently pose no threat to astronauts aboard the ISS, the researchers said.
"It is important to understand that strains found on the ISS were not virulent, which means that they do not pose an active threat to human health, but [still] You have to watch, "said Nitin Singh, lead author of the study, also in the JPL Biotech and Global Protection Group, in a statement.
Using computer analysis, the authors predicted a 79% chance that new strains of space bacteria could evolve and cause disease in humans arriving on mission. However, scientists will not understand the true potential of bacteria until they can study them in a living body in space. Life is strange in the spaceeven for microbes. Unique environmental conditions – including microgravity, radiation consistent human support – could have important effects on the growth and spread of bacteria. Further studies are needed to determine exactly what these effects might be, the researchers said.
Originally published on Science live.