Title

Identification and Characterization of Bacterial Isolates from the Mir Space Station

Publication Title

Microbiological Research

Publication Date

4-25-2005

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1016/j.micres.2004.10.005

Keywords

16S rRNA gene sequencing, bacterial identification, Mir space station

Disciplines

Biology

Abstract

Twenty bacterial isolates (supplied by NASA) from the Mir space station water system were identified using Vitek GNI+ test card, API 20NE, and 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The identification of only one isolate agreed among the three techniques. The utility of the API 20NE and Vitek GNI+ test card approaches for identifying these isolates was limited. Although 16S rRNA gene sequencing effectively identified many of the bacteria to the genus level, 74% of the isolates could not be identified to the species level. Isolates were also characterized based on motility and hydrophobicity. About 40% of the isolates were motile and four isolates were hydrophobic, suggesting that many of the bacteria have the potential to colonize surfaces and form biofilms. These findings demonstrate the difficulties in identifying bacteria from some environments to the species level and have implications for determining the risks of contamination in water systems of space shuttles and stations.