Researchers have discovered microbes in space: International Space Station is home to new, exciting living creatures

Fareeha Arshad

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Microorganisms are diverse organisms that are found in a vast array of environments, ranging from sweltering climates to chilly ecosystems. Researchers have discovered that microorganisms live in the zero gravity conditions like the International Space Station (ISS). In a combined study involving Indian and American researchers and NASA, four unique bacterial strains were discovered in three locations within the ISS.

Upon further investigations, scientists concluded that the strains came from a bacterial family commonly present in soil and water surfaces. These species aid in fixing nitrogen in plants and protect them from various pathogens. Because astronauts in space also grow food, it is not strange to discover such bacterial organisms on the space station.

These newly discovered strains have been named IF7SW-B2T, IIF1SW-B5, IIF4SW-B5 and Methylorubrum rhodesianum. Researchers believe this finding is particularly promising because the isolation of these strains will help understand the functioning and activity of such organisms that help plants grow under stressful conditions. The study has been published in the journal, ‘Frontiers in Microbiology’.

Scientists are now focusing on understanding the genetic makeup of these microbes that can be used to promote plant growth and development. Furthermore, researchers are excited to perform a comparative study to characterize the genomic constituents of the newly discovered bacterial strains compared to their counterparts found on the Earth. Scientists believe that, with further studies, unique genetic combinations can be identified that will help in plant growth under microgravity conditions and help in developing plants that will survive future long missions in space.

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I am a scientist by profession and a historian by passion. I mostly write about history and science.

Texas State
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