Bacteria Experimentation Has Begun!

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

Bacteria experimentation has begun! An experiment aiming at analyzing bacteria stability, gas production rate, growth rate, and acid production began on 3/16/2021. One sample of Staphylococcus Epidermidis was placed in its recommended storage conditions (the control) while a second sample was placed in ambient conditions (the stability test) for 9 days. Both samples were cultured on 3/25/2021 in the same volume of the recommended nutrient broth to analyze any difference in growth between the two samples. The experiment will continue for 30 days as this is the period of time the experiment is expected to spend on-board the International Space Station. First signs of growth were seen on 3/28/2021 with similar growth being observed between the control and bacteria placed at ambient conditions!

This is very promising due to the ambient conditions that will be experienced by the experiment as it is getting sent to the International Space Station before the bacteria is released into the nutrient rich broth. These similar growth observations between the control and stability test indicate that this period of travel to the International Space Station will not be a factor having significant effects on the growth of the bacteria. Gas production rate is being monitored through the implementation of balloons on top of the flasks housing the growing bacteria. This allows any carbon dioxide produced by the bacteria as they grow to be captured by the balloons. At this point, no notable gas or acid production has been observed which is also very promising as this will make the experimental build have less factors to consider during its fabrication.

Immediately after bacteria introduction (no turbidity):

The two images seen above show the nutrient broth immediately after the bacteria were introduced when no growth had begun. The two images below show the nutrient broth after the bacteria had been given 6 days to grow. The increased turbidity of the broth seen for the bottom two images relative to the top two images indicates that the bacteria has begun to grow. In other words, the broth in the two images below appears to be much more foggy than the two images above; which is indication of bacteria growth!

After 6 days of growth (Increased turbidity):

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The results from our citizen science experiment were accepted for publication! Find our paper describing this effort and its results here: