DEVELOPMENT.- Researchers from the NASA Laboratory Laboratory in Pasadena, California, USA, found that isolated bacteria on the International Space Station (ISS) were resistant to multiple drugs, causing concern about possible health implications in future missions.
According to the study published in BMC Microbiology, five types of Enterobacter bugandensis have been identified in samples taken from the toilet and an ISS training platform in 2015. The genetic makeup of individual strains was detailed and comparable to all the available public genomes of Enterobacter collected on Earth.
The result revealed that the genes of the MSS samples were genetically very similar to the three terrestrial strains of E. bugandensis recently identified as challenging infections in infants and in elderly patients with complications.
The analysis of the functional and antimicrobial resistance of the five bacterial strains demonstrated its resistance to five of the most commonly used antibiotics – including penicillin – and two more of the "middle resistance". This pathogen is most commonly found in the human intestinal tract, in wastewater and in the soil, and is associated with a wide range of nosocomial infections.
Dangerous or not?
It has recently been noted that the competition of bacteria for the acquisition of foreign genetic material increases in microgravity and increases its resistance to metals and antibiotics, factors that could predispose LES strains to greater virulence in the future.
Researchers predict with computer analysis 79% probability that they could cause diseases in humans.
According to Kasthuri Venkateswaran, chief research author, whether ISS organisms cause disease and how much they pose a threat depends on a variety of factors (environmental, spatial, etc.).
"More in vivo studies are needed to understand the impact that the IAS requirement can have on pathogenicity," he concludes.