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Engineer to launch bacteria into space aboard the final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis
Date:6/27/2011

those on board. A different and safer strain of bacteria with similar properties will serve as a proxy. The new surface developed by Dordick utilizes an enzyme found in nature and kills 100 percent of MRSA within 20 minutes of contact.

The new technology marries carbon nanotubes with lysostaphin, a naturally occurring enzyme used by non-pathogenic strains of staph bacteria to defend against staph growth. The resulting nanotube-enzyme biomaterial can be mixed with any number of surface finishes. In tests, it was mixed with ordinary latex house paint. More information on the surface can be found at: http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2759.

Astronauts have been shown to have an increased susceptibility to infection while in microgravity, making a deeper understanding of how these bacteria behave in space of particular importance, according to Collins. In addition to its importance in planning future space missions, the research also has important applications here on Earth. The conditions in space are similar to those produced within the human body on several levels. Understanding how bacteria thrive in space may also provide insight into how they develop once they enter the human body.


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Contact: Gabrielle DeMarco
demarg@rpi.edu
518-276-6542
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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