Performed inside International Space Station (ISS) from 2011 to 2016, VIABLE (eValuatIon And monitoring of microBiofiLms insidE International Space Station) ISS was a long-lasting experiment aimed at evaluating the bacterial contamination on different surface space materials subjected to different pre-treatment, to provide useful information for future space missions. In this work, surfaces samples of the VIABLE ISS experiment were analyzed to determine both the total bacterial load (ATP-metry, qPCR) and the composition of the microbial communities (16S rRNA genes amplicon sequencing). Data obtained showed a low bacterial contamination of all the surfaces, with values in agreement with those allowed inside ISS, and with a taxonomic composition similar to those found in previous studies (Enterobacteriales, Bacillales, Lactobacillales and Actinomycetales). No pre-treatment or material effect were observed on both the bacterial load and the composition of the communities, but for both a slight effect of the position (expose/not expose to air) was observed. In conclusion, under the conditions used for VIABLE ISS, no material or pre-treatment seems to be better than others in terms of quantity and type of bacterial contamination.
Keywords: International space station; Microbiome; Surfaces; VIABLE ISS.
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