The environment on board a space-station is controlled to be comfortable not only for astronauts but also for saprophytic fungi. It is possible that these fungi can cause unexpected infections or allergic diseases in astronauts whose immune systems are disturbed by radiation effects under the condition of microgravity or another factors in the space. Six strains of space fungi were isolated and identified from samples collected from Russian Mir-Space Station as the major constituents of the fungal flora. These isolates were identified as Penicillium chrysogenum, Aspergillus versicolor or Penicillium sp. by both morphological methods and molecular biological techniques (based on 18S- and ITS1-rDNA sequences). To confirm the effect of microgravity to growth of fungi, strains of potential pathogens, Aspergillus niger, Neosartorya pseudofischeri (anamorph: A. thermomutatus), and Candida albicans, were incubated on three-dimensional clinostat as a simulator of weightlessness. Any differences were observed in morphology, sexual or asexual reproducibility among clinostat culture and ground control in each strains. The present study concluded that the environment on board the space station permits growth of potentially pathogenic fungi as does the Earth's environment. This makes it essential to investigate the fungal flora present in spacecraft and space stations in order to be able to control fungal infection, allergy and microbial disaster. However, electricity and space of space station or space craft is limited, we need minimal and essential system for detection and identification of potential pathogenic fungi. For the aim, molecular biological non-culture based methods are suitable. Candidates of the method are Capillary PCR (©Light Cycler, Roche), Loop-mediated isothermal amplification of DNA (©LAMP, Eiken Chemical) and eye detectable DNA microarray (©OligoArray, Nisshinbo). These quantitive and/or specific DNA detection system enables us investigating environmental and human flora in easy and speedy with relative small equipments.
Full conference title:
The 15 th Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
- ISHAM 15th (2003)