ESA title
Biofilms - SciSpacE


Biofilms are sessile communities of microorganisms, embedded in a self-produced matrix of polymeric substances, that grow commonly on solid surfaces. Biofilms have many implications in different fields, including bioremediation, water and wastewater treatment, air-conditioning, industrial biofouling, and medical implants contamination. In American/Russian space vehicles and the International Space Station (ISS), biofilms have been blamed for fouling of equipment, such as spacesuits, thermal control systems and air conditioning units. Moreover, the presence of biofilms in spaceflight is also related to issues like pitting corrosion of hardware, deterioration of drinking water quality, food-cross-contamination, and human diseases. Although the necessity to study biofilms formation in microgravity conditions is essential, efforts so far have been sparse and scattered.

The aim of this Topical Team is to concert activities among research teams for the systematic investigation of biofilm formation in microgravity conditions. The strength of this Topical Team is that it can assess biofilms using approaches and perspectives from various scientific disciplines taking advantage of the complementary expertise of different research teams. Emphasis is given not only to understand biofilm formation but also identify suitable means and procedures for biofilm prevention and cleaning of contaminated surfaces. Microorganisms and substrates representative of space and terrestrial applications will be selected and a research plan addressing critical scientific problems will be defined together with relevant participating industries.