Microbial Tracking-3 Experiment Sample Collection On The ISS


Image: Astronaut Megan McArthur sampling a surface in the Cupola for the Microbial Tracking-3 experiment on July 2, 2021.

Microbial Tracking-3 (MT-3) is a NASA Space Biology investigation cataloging and characterizing potential disease-causing microorganisms aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

MT-3 sampling kits launched on SpX-22 were used to successfully collect samples on ISS June 28 - July 2 by Astronauts Akihiko Hoshide, Shane Kimbrough, and Megan McArthur. Eight different surfaces located throughout the ISS were sampled each of the five days using sterile wipes.

The wipes containing the samples were placed in 4C stowage for return on SpX-22 and immediate shipment to the PI upon return to Earth. Analysis of the ISS samples will help scientists determine the distribution and selection of antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes in microbial and fungal genomes and metagenomes in the ISS environment.

These experiments are designed to understand genes and pathways that are under purifying selection in the ISS environment.

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