Biofilm and human spaceflight

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Elsevier BV


On Earth, biofilms are ubiquitous and represent the predominant mode of growth by microorganisms in their natural environments including those of biomedical and industrial importance [1,2]. While microbial contamination has been reported on the Mir (1986–2001) and earlier spacecraft, notably Skylab (1973–1979) [3], the first experimental evidence of biofilm formation during spaceflight was reported with Burkholderia cepacia flown on STS-81 in 1997 [4] and Pseudomonas aeruginosa during a 1998 experiment on STS-95 [5]. Biofilm formation has since been confirmed in a number of other spaceflight and microgravity analog studies (reviewed in Ref. [6]). Due to the potential risk of damage to key spacecraft materials and instrumentation, biofilms represent a risk that must be addressed for future human space missions beyond low Earth orbit [7]. In this special issue of Biofilm, several notable publications are presented that all enhance the understanding and the importance of biofilms in space.



biofilm, human spaceflight, microorganisms


Goeres, Darla M., et al. Biofilm and Human Spaceflight, Elsevier, Dec. 2023,
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