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SBIR/STTR

Devices and Methods for Collection and Concentration of Air and Surface Samples for Improved Detection of Microbes onboard ISS, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Protecting the International Space Station (ISS) crew from microbial contaminants is of great importance. Bacterial and fungal contamination of air, surfaces and water aboard ISS has the potential to cause sickness among ISS crew and to impact onboard experiments. Further, it has been noted that pathogenicity and virulence of microbes can increase in microgravity environments. These factors, along with the high consequence of sickness in the remote space environment, creates a significant need for a rapid way to determine when microbial contamination events occur. To this end, InnovaPrep LLC of Drexel, MO proposes development of improved methods for collection of microbes from air and surfaces for delivery into a small liquid volume compatible with advanced molecular based detection systems. Rapid microbiological detection systems have taken dramatic steps forward in the last two decades and today detection of even a single organism is possible in less than one hour. Unfortunately, development of rapid detection methods has far outpaced development of sample collection and concentration techniques, which are necessary to enable detection of low microbial concentrations in the environment. In the proposed Phase I work, InnovaPrep will leverage current aerosol and surface collection and elution technologies and innovations from a 2015 NASA awarded SBIR for microbial concentration from ISS potable water, for handling of these technologies in a microgravity environment, to develop novel ISS aerosol and surface collection systems. Specifically, InnovaPrep will develop new, optimized aerosol filter assemblies and surface sampling assemblies that allow for collection from larger air volumes and surface areas and elution into smaller liquid volumes than is currently possible. More »

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