ENVIRONMENT

New bacterial strains found on the space station might be useful in producing food in space

Photo by NASA on Unsplash.

Previously unknown species of microbes have been discovered in various areas on the International Space Station (ISS) through advanced genetic testing. Three out of the four species are novel microbes that have never been found before. 

Since the newly-discovered bacteria can exist in conditions of the ISS and may also be involved in agricultural processes like plant growth, researchers and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) believe that the species may contain components that might be useful for food production in space.

Further studies are required to verify and support this idea. Researchers are still looking into the presence and abilities of these microbes in surviving in such extreme conditions. Swati Bijlani, a geneticist who led the research, suggested “Methylobacterium Ajmalii” as a name for the new species in honor of the Indian scientist Ajmal Khan.  

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