- Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have studied microbial interactions in the international space station (ISS).
- This study would not only help understand the risks associated with short-and long-term space travel on astronauts’ health but also devise strategies to disinfect the ISS and reduce potential impact of microbes on astronauts.
- Earlier observations included the dominance of Klebsiella pneumoniae on the surface of ISS. It is known to cause pneumonia and other nosocomial infections.
- The researchers wanted to know how the bacteria could affect the growth of other microbes in the vicinity.
- Karthik Raman, associate professor at the Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences and a core member of the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at the institute collaborated with KasthuriVenkateswaran, senior research scientist at JPL. Their work was published in Microbiome.
- Karthik said the microbiome of the built environment has a huge impact on human health.
- Controlled environments such as the ISS harbour a variety of organisms and unravelling their interactions is key to a better appreciation of the factors that shape the microbiome even in extreme conditions.
- Kasthuri said one way the microbes are introduced in the sealed and closed space station is through crew members.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB