Advances in space microbiology

Swati Bijlani, Elisa Stephens, Nitin Kumar Singh, Kasthuri Venkateswaran, Clay C.C. Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Microbial research in space is being conducted for almost 50 years now. The closed system of the International Space Station (ISS) has acted as a microbial observatory for the past 10 years, conducting research on adaptation and survivability of microorganisms exposed to space conditions. This adaptation can be either beneficial or detrimental to crew members and spacecraft. Therefore, it becomes crucial to identify the impact of two primary stress conditions, namely, radiation and microgravity, on microbial life aboard the ISS. Elucidating the mechanistic basis of microbial adaptation to space conditions aids in the development of countermeasures against their potentially detrimental effects and allows us to harness their biotechnologically important properties. Several microbial processes have been studied, either in spaceflight or using devices that can simulate space conditions. However, at present, research is limited to only a few microorganisms, and extensive research on biotechnologically important microorganisms is required to make long-term space missions self-sustainable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102395
Issue number5
StatePublished - 21 May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Microbiology
  • Space Sciences


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