November 10, 2023 by
Lucy Gardner Carson
Scott Tighe, technical director at the University of Vermont’s advanced genomics lab
(NOVEMBER 10, 2023) Scott Tighe, technical director at the University of Vermont’s advanced genomics lab, collaborated with ATCC to customize a lyophilized whole-cell mix of 10 bacterial species into a specialized format that was sent to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX CRS-29 Cargo Dragon Resupply Craft mission on November 9.
The mix of bacterial species, known as MSA-2003-ISS, is contained in special tubes fitted with space-compatible Qosina septa valves for standard pipet injections by the astronaut crew without the potential for exposure. This microbial standard was chosen for the uTitan ISS mission because of its genetic and phenotypic diversity. MSA-2003-ISS will be used in uTitan DNA extraction payload studies to demonstrate extraction efficiency in zero gravity. It will ultimately be sequenced using NGS technologies on Earth using the Singular G4 and Oxford Nanopore NGS systems.
“To be able to use this microbial product in space, we needed to work closely with the ATCC to fabricate the product in such a way that the ISS crew could handle it without safety concerns. Handling lyophilized material in zero gravity is a safety concern, and two levels of full containment are needed to prevent aerosolization,” said Tighe.
ATCC is a premier global biological materials and information resource and standards organization and the leading developer and supplier of authenticated cell lines, microorganisms, and associated data for academia, industry, and government. The ISS National Lab, a functioning research laboratory with the tools and facilities needed to translate traditional ground-based experiments into flight-ready payloads, orbits 248 miles above the Earth. Onboard, studies into the effects of spaceflight on living organisms enable life science research to advance pharmaceutical development and to augment Earth-based studies in fundamental biology, medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology.
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