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Microorganisms found in a spacecraft assembly facility named after a microbiologist at the Berkeley Institute

Tamas Trok collected field samples in the Uzon Caldera, a volcanic environment on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East, and found extremophiles. Credit: Eric Mathur

Space exploration has allowed humans to travel from Earth to space, but humans may not be the only creatures hitchhiking on spacecraft. Microbiologists studying the extreme environment are looking for microbes that are present on the surface of spacecraft and can pollute the pristine environment of outer space. A new strain has now been discovered in a spacecraft assembly facility and is named after a longtime Berkeley lab microbiologist. Tamas Trok..


New factory Animal species Discovered, they are often named after famous scientists and famous public figures. This also happens when new microorganisms are discovered. In this case, it is P. torokii, a new fungal species of the genus Parengyodontium. Torok, a related scientist in the Department of Climate and Ecosystem Sciences at Berkeley Lab, has decades of experience studying microorganisms in extreme environments, focusing on the diversity and abundance of low-biomass microorganisms. Spaceship An assembly facility that manages microorganisms in preparation for materials entering space.

“It’s a big honor,” Torok said. “Especially because I started my entire scientific career with fungal organisms. I worked with fungi for the first 18 years.”

The new fungal strain shows its ability to produce biofilms. This means that the biofilm can adhere to the surface and withstand the cleaning protocols found at the spacecraft assembly facility. These cleanroom facilities must comply with NASA’s robotic mission requirements, raising concerns about the strain’s ability to survive in this undernourished environment. It is important to monitor the spacecraft’s bioburden (microorganisms present in the spacecraft or assembly facility) so that scientists do not mistakenly claim it. Extraterrestrial life Discovered when a contaminated spacecraft returns Microorganisms To the earth. Scientists aim to develop more research and new cleaning protocols to detect and limit the potential contamination of fungal strains in spacecraft assembly facilities.


NASA’s in-orbit service, assembly, and manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) mission prepares for the construction of spacecraft.


For more information:
Ceth W. Parker et al, Parengyodontium torokiisp. Genome Characteristics A new species of biofilm-forming bacterium isolated from the Mars 2020 assembly facility, Fungal journal (2022). DOI: 10.3390 / jof8010066

Quote: Microorganisms found at the Berkeley Lab’s microbiologist (February 15, 2022) at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility are https: //phys.org/news/2022-02-microorganism-spacecraft- Obtained from facility-berkeley-lab.html on February 15, 2022

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Microorganisms found in a spacecraft assembly facility named after a microbiologist at the Berkeley Institute

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