The Biofilms hardware was developed by Kayser Italia for experiments aboard the International Space Station. It is designed to study the formation of biofilms in controlled conditions.

It includes special containers with metal plates, bacteria, and growth medium, all set up to promote the growth of biofilms while maintaining a suitable research environment.

Samantha Cristoforetti installing Biofilms in Kubik

Samantha Cristoforetti installing Biofilms in Kubik. Image credit: ESA / NASA / Roscosmos

The design allows for the researchers to start incubation at set times. For the Biofilms experiment, the setup was installed in Kubik, a miniaturized laboratory inside ESA’s Columbus space laboratory.

Final flight

On 15 March 2023, NASA’s CRS-27 mission launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, carrying the last set of Biofilms samples to the Space Station, following missions in August 2021 and July 2022.

The results from all three missions will provide comprehensive insights into how well these antimicrobial surfaces perform against biofilm formation.

Launch of NASA's CRS 27 mission to the Space Station.

Launch of NASA’s CRS 27 mission to the Space Station. Image credit: SpaceX

“Crew health and safety on space missions are crucial, and understanding biofilm formation helps reduce bacterial exposure. These findings will assist in selecting materials for future missions,” adds Jutta Krause, ESA’s payload engineer for this research.

“Antimicrobial surfaces, like those in our Biofilms experiment, have applications beyond space and are valuable in homes, industries, hospitals, and food production facilities where preventing biofilms is vital.”

Source: European Space Agency

Categorized in: