How microbes survive clean rooms and contaminate spacecraft by biodegradation of cleaning reagents

Even though extensive cleaning procedures in clean rooms and spacecraft are utilized, molecular genetics analyses show that the clean rooms harbor a diverse collection of microorganisms or a spacecraft microbiome. The Acinetobacter, a genus of bacteria, are among the dominant members of the spacecraft microbiome. In this research, the investigators showed that under ultraminimal conditions several spacecraft-associated Acinetobacter metabolize or biodegrade the spacecraft cleaning reagents of ethanol (ethyl alcohol), 2-propanol (isopropyl alcohol), and Kleenol 30 (floor detergent). The work showed that cultures grew on ethyl alcohol as a sole carbon source while displaying reasonable tolerances towards oxidative stress. This study provides a plausible biochemical explanation to the observed microbial ecology dynamics of spacecraft-associated environments. @ More information: Rakesh Mogul et al. Metabolism and Biodegradation of Spacecraft Cleaning Reagents by Strains of Spacecraft-Associated Acinetobacter, Astrobiology (2018). DOI: 10.1089/ast.2017.1814

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