• Question: how differently do bacteria adapt in space than on earth???

    Asked by user2 to Steve, Shefali, Kevin, Katie, Floris, Delma on 12 Jan 2016.
    • Photo: Delma Childers

      Delma Childers answered on 12 Jan 2016:

      There are two key adaptations that we see with several bacterial species:
      1) Some tend to grow faster in space than on Earth.
      2) Many form bigger and better communities of bacteria (we call these biofilms) in space.

      We worry a little bit more about #2 because we’ve found that when we study biofilms on Earth, they’re somewhat resistant to antibiotics. Biofilms also have a tendency to grow on space station surfaces and have clogged up water systems on the old Mir space station in the past.