We will BioRock you: experiments on Sphingomonas desiccabilis in preparation for the International Space Station.

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

We will BioRock you: experiments on Sphingomonas desiccabilis in preparation for the International Space Station.

  • Event time: 1:00pm until 2:00pm
  • Event date: 25th February 2019
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

Microgravity has been demonstrated to induce several morphologic and phenotypic changes on bacterial cultures, due to the differential nutrient availability. Recent experiments conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) showed that cells size were incremented during the Space flights, as well as cell concentration and antibiotic resistance. Moreover, microgravity had an effect on biofilm formation and altered biofilm architecture.

In this talk I will describe the results of the preliminary experiments on the bacterium Sphingomonas desiccabilis in preparation for the ESA BioRock experiment (ILSRA-2009-0952), that will be performed on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2019. The aim of this experiment is to investigate how bacteria interact with basalt rock in microgravity, simulated Mars (0.38 g) and Earth (1 g) gravities.

Two main features of bacterial growth will be assessed: biofilm formation and bioleaching extent. During the BioRock experiment, biofilm formed by the bacteria on a basalt rock surface after the flight will be analysed by several microscopic techniques. The results obtained from my preliminary tests showed interesting features of biofilm formation on basalt slides, and gave clues on what would be interesting to focus on after the flight in the ISS.

About Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

Find out more about Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars.