Wednesday , April 21 2021

NASA warns: "Toxic" space fungi detected at the International Space Station | Science | News



Life on Earth continues to puzzle scientists from their ability to withstand difficult conditions. From lichens living in the frozen Arctic to thermophils that prosper in the source of hydrothermal openings, life easily survives all the extremes that it faces on the Earth. Therefore, it should not surprise the fact that human fungi were discovered on NASA's spacecraft.

Microscopic inhabitants, such as simple species of fungi, remain relatively understood in space, unlike bacteria.

It is known that these small forms of mushrooms can cause health problems for those with compromised immune systems and those in stressful environments.

And the surprise detection of fungi in space has raised concerns.

For the astronauts' difficult experiences in survival of the space rig it has been shown to affect the immune system of astronauts.

This led a team from the Belgian University of Ghent to investigate how fungi can affect the health of those living in space.

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However, the research has done little to suppress concerns.

Professor Sarah de Saher, a pharmacologic scientist co-author of the new paper, said: "For mycotoxins, we found almost nothing."

This lack of knowledge is problematic, because fungi found on NASA's spacecraft, such as Aspergillus flavus and Alternaria, may produce compounds that cause cancer and immune depressive ones.

And these molecules are often formed when the fungi are emphasized.

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Understanding goes if space is a stressful environment for people, it can also be stressful for fungi.

Are the astronauts actually affected by such toxins or not, remain unknown, Professor de Sager added.

The team at Gent University believes that space agencies, such as NASA, need to better detect and investigate mycotoxins in space.

Researchers have suggested that new methods for monitoring the surface and atmosphere of the spacecraft should be developed.

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At present, most fungal detectors are made by sending samples back to Earth's laboratories, but this is impossible for long-range space missions, as is the eagerly anticipated Mars mission by crew.

Professor De Sahger, however, stressed that the presence of mycotoxins does not necessarily present a dangerous hazard to astronauts.

Millions of us here on Earth are often exposed to these microscopic compounds, but their specific contribution to various diseases is not always easy to follow.

However, fungi can grow and develop into a closed ambient of a long-lasting space mission.

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Dr. Adriana Blahovich, who examined the International Space Station fungi, but did not take part in a study at the University of Ghent, said: "I think the biggest message is that mushrooms and bacteria are an integral part of human bodies.

"Wherever we go, fungi and bacteria will follow."

Bacteria have been shown to become more cautious in space, and there are some worries that can make fungi, added the University of Southern California.

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