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Project Title:  Culture-based Environmental Monitoring of Crop-based Space Food Systems Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2022 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 12/17/2018  
End Date: 12/07/2023  
Task Last Updated: 05/06/2022 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Oubre, Cherie  Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  2400 NASA Parkway, NASA/JSC 
 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: cherie.m.oubre@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-6548  
Congressional District: 36 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Ott, Mark  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Castro, Victoria  B.S. KBR/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Hamilton, Tanner  B.S. JES Tech/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Mena, Christian  JES Tech/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Dunbar, Brandon  GeoControls/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: Report Updates: added Tanner Hamilton (September 2020 Report), Christian Mena (May 2022 Report) and Brandon Dunbar (May 2022 Report) as co-investigators because of their expertise in processing microbiology surface samples returned from spaceflight.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Stenger, Michael  
Center Contact: 281-483-1311 
michael.b.stenger@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) HHC Microhost:Risk of Adverse Health Effects Due to Host-Microorganism Interactions (IRP Rev J)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Micro-202:Evaluate the contribution of changes in microbial numbers, types, and virulence on the likelihood and consequence of non-infection-based effects on health and performance, including: decrease in cognition/mood/performance/blood-brain barrier (BBB) function related to the change in the gut’s microbiome and gut-brain axis, increase in cardiovascular health risks, effects of change in gut microbiome on metabolism of nutrients, and correlation with inflammation (IRP Rev L)
(2) Micro-301:Identify, develop, and implement in-flight microbial monitoring/diagnostic tools for support of research and crew health during Gateway, Lunar, and Mars missions (IRP Rev L)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 12/7/2023 per T. Sirmons/NASA JSC. (Ed., 3/22/22)

NOTE: End date changed to 9/30/2022 per PI (Ed., 10/8/21)

Task Description: The objective of the Culture-based Environmental Monitoring of Crop-based Space Food Systems (Veggie Monitoring) investigation is to characterize the microbial community of the Veggie plant production system. This baseline of microorganisms is used to develop microbial requirements for spaceflight-grown produce, and provide inputs to future plant system design. Future work will continue to evaluate the microorganisms that colonize the plant growth system using next generation monitoring technologies to develop future methods for evaluation of produce safety. Of note, the data collected in this study may be used to develop a better understanding of the sources of plant system contamination from the International Space Station (ISS) environment, preflight hardware configuration, water/nutrient supply, plant growth matrix, and the seeds cultivated in the investigation.

Twelve surface sampling sessions are required. For each session, four bacterial and fungal samples are collected from locations within the Veggie facility. The samples are collected during flight, and visual enumeration is performed approximately five days post-sampling. The samples are then returned to Earth for culture-based processing and microbe identification.

The Veggie hardware surface samples are analyzed, and the microbial data is compared to samples from ISS operational surfaces and the nominal potable water supply.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: The MicroHost research plan includes microbial evaluations of food systems and recommendations for spaceflight grown food requirements. Baseline microbial monitoring of the food systems will provide needed data for the development of the microbial requirements.

This work can be considered as “highly constrained” since it takes advantage of the operational microbial sampling procedure that is already conducted monthly onboard the ISS, by adding swabbing of the hardware and growing plants and collection of water samples, identical in nature and taken at the same time as the operational sample collections. The highly applied and operational nature of this work makes solicitation or awarding to an external entity not feasible. The MicroHost and Food PRRs (Path to Risk Reduction) identify this work as starting in FY19, and it is preceded by the ground study “Produce Microbiology” (Principal Investigator R. Wheeler) which is underway at Kennedy Space Center and will be completed by the end of FY18, and a Microbial Risk Assessment study initiated in Early FY19. The findings from the characterization of the Veggie system will feed into the Microbial Risk Assessment effort and into the Microbial Requirements Development task, planned to begin in FY20.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Successful production of safe, nutritious food in the challenging conditions in space may contribute to improved food production in harsh and remote environments on Earth.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2022 
Task Progress: Crewmembers have completed 8 bacterial and fungal sampling sessions. There was 1 session in 2019, 4 sessions in 2020, 3 sessions in 2021, Each session collected 4 bacterial and 4 fungal samples from various sample sites on the exterior surface of the Veggie unit using the Surface Sampling Kit (SSK). Samples were returned to Earth to the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Microbiology lab via Soyuz (58, 59, 61, 62, 63) and SpaceX (21, 22, 23) vehicles. Analysis was performed at the JSC Microbiology laboratory to evaluate for microbial growth and perform microbial identification. Microorganisms are identified via methods including microscopy, biochemical analysis, and molecular sequencing of DNA according to JSC Microbiology policy, procedures, and practices.

Some samples had growth of microorganisms, while others were devoid of growth. Sites were chosen based on previous results and likelihood of astronaut contact. Access to the interior of the unit is coordinated in between Veggie Unit payloads and as a result, fewer samples have been collected inside of the units. Future collections will continue to target surface sample collection from within the unit to fully comprehend the impact of microbes on system, plant, and crew health. Results continue to suggest a robust microbial community affiliated with the Veggie unit and will be compared to historical ISS data to for a comprehensive evaluation.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: ) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2022
Project Title:  Culture-based Environmental Monitoring of Crop-based Space Food Systems Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2021 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 12/17/2018  
End Date: 09/30/2022  
Task Last Updated: 09/23/2020 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Oubre, Cherie  Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  2400 NASA Parkway, NASA/JSC 
 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: cherie.m.oubre@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-6548  
Congressional District: 36 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Ott, Mark  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Castro, Victoria  B.S. KBR/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Hamilton, Tanner  B.S. JES Tech/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: September 2020 report: Tanner Hamilton was added as co-investigator because of his expertise in processing microbiology surface samples returned from spaceflight.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Stenger, Michael  
Center Contact: 281-483-1311 
michael.b.stenger@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) HHC Microhost:Risk of Adverse Health Effects Due to Host-Microorganism Interactions (IRP Rev J)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Micro-202:Evaluate the contribution of changes in microbial numbers, types, and virulence on the likelihood and consequence of non-infection-based effects on health and performance, including: decrease in cognition/mood/performance/blood-brain barrier (BBB) function related to the change in the gut’s microbiome and gut-brain axis, increase in cardiovascular health risks, effects of change in gut microbiome on metabolism of nutrients, and correlation with inflammation (IRP Rev L)
(2) Micro-301:Identify, develop, and implement in-flight microbial monitoring/diagnostic tools for support of research and crew health during Gateway, Lunar, and Mars missions (IRP Rev L)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 9/30/2022 per PI (Ed., 10/8/21)

Task Description: The objective of the Culture-based Environmental Monitoring of Crop-based Space Food Systems (Veggie Monitoring) investigation is to characterize the microbial community of the Veggie plant production system. This baseline of microorganisms is used to develop microbial requirements for spaceflight-grown produce, and provide inputs to future plant system design. Future work will continue to evaluate the microorganisms that colonize the plant growth system using next generation monitoring technologies to develop future methods for evaluation of produce safety. Of note, the data collected in this study may be used to develop a better understanding of the sources of plant system contamination from the International Space Station (ISS) environment, preflight hardware configuration, water/nutrient supply, plant growth matrix, and the seeds cultivated in the investigation.

Twelve surface sampling sessions are required. For each session, four bacterial and fungal samples are collected from locations within the Veggie facility. The samples are collected during flight, and visual enumeration is performed approximately five days post-sampling. The samples are then returned to Earth for culture-based processing and microbe identification.

The Veggie hardware surface samples are analyzed, and the microbial data is compared to samples from ISS operational surfaces and the nominal potable water supply.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: The MicroHost research plan includes microbial evaluations of food systems and recommendations for spaceflight grown food requirements. Baseline microbial monitoring of the food systems will provide needed data for the development of the microbial requirements.

This work can be considered as “highly constrained” since it takes advantage of the operational microbial sampling procedure that is already conducted monthly onboard the ISS, by adding swabbing of the hardware and growing plants and collection of water samples, identical in nature and taken at the same time as the operational sample collections. The highly applied and operational nature of this work makes solicitation or awarding to an external entity not feasible. The MicroHost and Food PRRs (Path to Risk Reduction) identify this work as starting in FY19, and it is preceded by the ground study “Produce Microbiology” (Principal Investigator R. Wheeler) which is underway at Kennedy Space Center and will be completed by the end of FY18, and a Microbial Risk Assessment study initiated in Early FY19. The findings from the characterization of the Veggie system will feed into the Microbial Risk Assessment effort and into the Microbial Requirements Development task, planned to begin in FY20.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Successful production of safe, nutritious food in the challenging conditions in space may contribute to improved food production in harsh and remote environments on Earth.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2021 
Task Progress: Crewmembers collected a total of 8 surface samples for bacterial and fungal analysis from various sample sites on the exterior surface of the Veggie unit using the Surface Sampling Kit (SSK). Samples were returned to Earth to the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) Microbiology lab via Soyuz 59, where they are enumerated and examined for microbial growth. If growth is observed, each morphologically distinct colony is subcultured and isolated onto a respective medium for identification. Microorganisms are identified via methods including microscopy, biochemical analysis, and molecular sequencing of DNA according to JSC Microbiology policy, procedures, and practices.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: ) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2021
Project Title:  Culture-based Environmental Monitoring of Crop-based Space Food Systems Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2019 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 12/17/2018  
End Date: 10/30/2021  
Task Last Updated: 02/08/2019 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Oubre, Cherie  Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  2400 NASA Parkway, NASA/JSC 
 
Houston , TX 77058 
Email: cherie.m.oubre@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-6548  
Congressional District: 36 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Ott, Mark  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Castro, Victoria  B.S. KBRwyle/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Directed Research 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Norsk, Peter  
Center Contact:  
Peter.norsk@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: Directed Research 
Grant/Contract No.: Directed Research 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) HHC Microhost:Risk of Adverse Health Effects Due to Host-Microorganism Interactions (IRP Rev J)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) Micro-202:Evaluate the contribution of changes in microbial numbers, types, and virulence on the likelihood and consequence of non-infection-based effects on health and performance, including: decrease in cognition/mood/performance/blood-brain barrier (BBB) function related to the change in the gut’s microbiome and gut-brain axis, increase in cardiovascular health risks, effects of change in gut microbiome on metabolism of nutrients, and correlation with inflammation (IRP Rev L)
(2) Micro-301:Identify, develop, and implement in-flight microbial monitoring/diagnostic tools for support of research and crew health during Gateway, Lunar, and Mars missions (IRP Rev L)
Task Description: Crewmembers live and work in a closed-environment that is monitored to ensure health and safety. Lessons learned from microbial monitoring of previous spaceflight missions have been incorporated into the design and development of the International Space Station (ISS). The microbial control actions on the ISS include engineering designs, such as high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtering of the air, microbial monitoring of the air, surfaces, and water, as well as remediation procedures when needed. The continual monitoring of the microbes in the environment has given us a large set of microbial environmental data to use when evaluating the current spacecraft environmental microbial limits as well as monitoring the safety of the environment for the crew. As we move toward exploration missions, we are introducing new systems such as the Veggie plant growth system to enable mission success. It is important to collect similar measures on the new systems to give us data to develop the spaceflight-grown produce requirements. Sampling of the Veggie system over time will give us this data to assess the impact of the plant growth system on crew safety. The Veggie system is open to the cabin environment, which makes it even more critical to understand what microbes are present in the plant growth system.

The objective of this experiment is to characterize the microbial community of the Veggie plant growth system in order to identify a baseline of microorganisms that can be used to:

1. Develop microbial requirements for spaceflight-grown produce

2. Provide inputs to future plant growth system design

Future work will be continued evaluation of microorganisms that colonize the plant growth system using next generation monitoring technologies to develop future methods for evaluation of produce safety. Of note, the data collected in this study may be used to get a better understating of the sources of plant system contamination from the ISS environment, pre-flight hardware contamination, water/nutrient supply, plant growth matrix, and the seeds.

Rationale for HRP Directed Research: The MicroHost research plan includes microbial evaluations of food systems and recommendations for spaceflight grown food requirements. Baseline microbial monitoring of the food systems will provide needed data for the development of the microbial requirements.

This work can be considered as “highly constrained” since it takes advantage of the operational microbial sampling procedure that is already conducted monthly onboard the ISS, by adding swabbing of the hardware and growing plants and collection of water samples, identical in nature and taken at the same time as the operational sample collections. The highly applied and operational nature of this work makes solicitation or awarding to an external entity not feasible. The MicroHost and Food PRRs (Path to Risk Reduction) identify this work as starting in FY19, and it is preceded by the ground study “Produce Microbiology” (Principal Investigator R. Wheeler) which is underway at Kennedy Space Center and will be completed by the end of FY18, and a Microbial Risk Assessment study initiated in Early FY19. The findings from the characterization of the Veggie system will feed into the Microbial Risk Assessment effort and into the Microbial Requirements Development task, planned to begin in FY20.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2019 
Task Progress: New project for FY2019.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: ) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2019