Libmonster ID: MD-484

Uncontrolled distribution of microflora in isolated spaces can cause in man different allergic reactions on the skin, hampered respiration, lacrimation, cold, etc. Sources of such reactions can be not only microorganisms themselves, but also their metabolites in the form of shifting excretions, products of decomposition of substances, affected by microbiological influence, spores of microorganisms, accumulating in air, etc. Such situation is characteristic mainly of kindergartens, hospitals and other objects, where people have to be in contact with each other for a long time in isolated premises.

Of special importance is formation and distribution of microflora at space stations, where cosmonauts' general state must be maintained at a high level for long. The experience, accumulated within the limits of Russian and international cosmic programs, has shown that in the conditions of piloted flights, microorganisms are man's constant ecological partner.

Thus, microorganisms are constantly found in the air, on the surfaces of the interior and equipment of International Space Stations. For example, in the course of 13 main expeditions and 11 expeditions concerning visits to International Space Stations (ISS), there were discovered 76 species of microorganisms, including conditioned-pathogenic bacteria and fungi, as well as organisms-technophiles, that can cause biocorrosion of metals. Microflora can also damage different panels and other polymer coatings, even wire insulation. Besides, various toxins and other gaseous components, harmful for man, can also get into the atmosphere.

The main source of excreting bacteria and microscopic fungi and viruses are people. Feed products and equipment are also sources of microbiological contaminations. In the course of current and past space flights there was worked out a reliable system of sanitary-hygienic measures, eliminating the negative effect of microbes on men in the closed media. However, due to the increased duration of space flights, it is expected that the risks of arising infectious diseases, allergic reactions, spreading of seats of degradation of materials and mass reproduction of microorganisms in secluded places, resulting in failure of various devices. Thus, even existence of microflora, which is seemingly not harmful for man, can lead to rather unfavorable and potentially dangerous consequences at space stations. The creation of scientifically substantiated system of antimicrobial protection remains a priority in ensuring safe habitat for crews of space vehicles and stations.

One of the ways of solving this problem is prediction of dissemination nature, number and specific composition of microflora, prognosis of its influence on the environment, including man. It goes without saying that to carry out such studies at the space station is inadmissible-it is necessary to start from model objects.

Studies in this sphere have begun within the framework of the BIOSMHARS project, which can be deciphered as "Specific modeling of biocontamination in media related to cosmos". The goal of this project is theoretical and experimental modeling of spreading of microflora in isolated hermovolumes, in compliance with their designation maximally close to the objects of cosmic designation.

As such object European specialists offered a unique bioregenerative system BIOS-3, which is in Krasnoyarsk at the Institute of Biophysics (RAS Siberian Branch). This system was used first in the world in 1970s-1980s in a series of experiments on a long stay of man in hermetic isolated space with a circular motion process, ensuring a hundred percent locking concerning gas and water, and more than 50 percent-food. The majority of results obtained in the experiments are regarded as unsurpassed in the world up till now.

At present BIOS-3 is being modernized under support of RAS Siberian Branch and European Space Agency. A new generation system with deep locking of mass exchange processes and automatization of systems of control measurement based on international standards is being created under supervision of Director of the Institute of Biophysics (RAS SB), Academician Andrei Degermendzhi and Executive Director of the International Center for Closed Ecological Systems Alexander Tikhomirov. That is why BIOS-3 has been chosen as an object of studies and attrac-

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tion of scientists from the Institute of Biophysics for participation in the project has been decided.

The project started in June 2011. Within its framework the institute has to create in one of the hermetic modules BIOS-3 conditions of the medium by main parameters (temperature, air humidity, illumination, speed and direction of air streams) close to the parameters at ISS. These parameters must be measured and controlled by modern devices with data in Internet to make them accessible for participants of the project in the online regime.

Besides, scientists from the Institute of Biophysics (RAS SB) will take part in a number of model physical and biological experiments. BIOS-3 will be used in future for physical modeling of microparticle distribution, imitating by sizes microorganisms, which make man's usual microflora. Biophysicists will start assessing of distribution of such particles on the volume of BIOS-3, taking into account factors of the medium, among which priority importance is attached to the speed and direction of air streams and particle sizes. According to the received data, there will be made physical models of distribution dynamics of microparticles in the hermovolume under consideration. This part of the work is assigned to specialists from the Center of Technical Studies of Finland.

Then a biological part of the experiment will start: BIOS-3 will get aerosol, containing microorganisms, which make a part of man's usual microflora and have the same parameters as the physical particles used earlier.

Scientists from the University of Western Finland and from the New Experiment Center of Christophe Meier (France) have to work out methods of aerosol supply to the BIOS-3 compartment, while selection of microorganisms and their consequent use in BIOS-3 will be implemented by microbiologists from the RAS Institute of Medico-Biological Problems, who have been successfully carrying out control of microflora at ISS for a long time.

This collection of microorganisms from ISS is planned to be used in these experiments. Peculiarities of distribution of microorganisms in the BIOS hermovolume, taking into account factors of the medium, as well as their consequent growth, will be studied, and after comparison of the obtained results with the data of physical modeling of microparticles, necessary corrections will be made.

General strategy of microbiological studies will be implemented by specialists from the microbiology department of the Belgian Center for Nuclear Studies. Thus, it is planned to create a model of dissemination of microorganisms in hermovolume, taking into consideration its geometry and inner factors of the medium.

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General coordination of works in compliance with the project shall be carried out by the French Institute of Space Physiology and Medicine.

The first meeting on the problems of the project was held in September 2011 at the Institute of Biophysics (RAS SB). It was attended by all heads of project work packets from Belgium, Russia, Finland and France. The objective of the meeting was an acquaintance of the project participants with BIOS-3 and concretization of plans of joint works.

At the opening ceremony of the meeting, Andrei Degermendzhi pointed out that the project aimed to find algorithms of microbial community control in the closed medium, has practical importance not only for space flights, but also for reduction of microbiological risks in any closed premises with people. He also briefly spoke about theoretical and experimental successes, achieved by the Institute of Biophysics (RAS SB) in the sphere of control over the structure of running microbial communities through biophysical mechanisms of regulation of their number, and expressed the hope that the fruitful cooperation with European colleagues in the sphere of modeling and optimization of control over complex microbial systems in future will be expanded, and not only for space conditions.

S. Churilov, Not Only for Outer Space, "Science in Siberia" newspaper, No. 48, 2011


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