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Swift
2013-Jun-26, 08:03 PM
(as in the Muppets "Pigs in Space")

From Laboratory Equipment magazine (http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/06/bacteria-behaves-bizarrely-space)

Colonies of bacteria grown aboard space shuttle Atlantis behaved in ways never before observed on Earth, according to a new NASA-funded study from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Recent findings provide important evidence of spaceflight’s effect on the behavior of bacterial communities and represent a key step toward understanding and mitigating the risk these bacteria may pose to astronauts during long-term space missions.

The research team, led by Rensselaer faculty member Cynthia Collins, sent the experiment into orbit aboard Atlantis’ STS-132 mission in May 2010 and its STS-135 mission in July 2011. Samples of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa were cultured for three days in artificial urine. The space-grown communities of bacteria, called biofilms, formed a column-and-canopy structure not previously observed on Earth. Additionally, biofilms grown during spaceflight had a greater number of live cells, more biomass and were thicker than control biofilms grown under normal gravity conditions.

...

"Biofilms were rampant on the Mir space station and continue to be a challenge on the International Space Station, but we still don’t really know what role gravity plays in their growth and development,” says Collins, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer. “Our study offers the first evidence that spaceflight affects community-level behaviors of bacteria and highlights the importance of understanding how both harmful and beneficial human-microbe interactions may be altered during spaceflight.”

Results of the study were published in PLOS ONE.

Squink
2013-Jun-26, 11:32 PM
Biofilms were rampant on the Mir space station
Rampant, and not in a good way:
The now decommissioned MIR space station was heavily colonized by microbial biofilms, which caused extensive corrosion and blocked its water purification system (34).
http://aem.asm.org/content/72/12/7701.full.pdf

Ara Pacis
2013-Jun-27, 01:25 AM
All the more reason to design rotating space stations.