Biofilm Management in a Microgravity Water Recovery System


Biofilm growth continues to be a significant concern for NASA�s current and future water systems. The International Space Station (ISS) Water Processor Assembly (WPA) produces potable water from a combination of humidity condensate and urine distillate. The WPA waste tank requires significant management to prevent biofilm growth from impacting downstream components. This issue is magnified for future NASA manned missions due to the need to place the vehicle�s life support system in a dormant state during uncrewed operations (e.g., when vehicle is in Mars orbit during surface mission). NASA personnel and the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University are evaluating various methods for mitigating biofilm growth, including reduced nutrient levels, thermal treatment, ultrasonic treatment, and identifying effective biocides in this application. This paper provides an overview of the current status on this effort.


Yo-Ann Velez Justiniano, Jacobs/Aerodyne Industries LCC
Donald Carter, NASA
Elizabeth Sandvik, Center for Biofilm Engineering
Phil Stewart, Montana State University
Darla Goeres, Center for Biofilm Engineering
Paul Sturman, Center for Biofilm Engineering
Wenyan Li, KSC
Alexander Johnson, Jacobs
Iulian Cioanta, Sanuwave
ICES303: Physio-Chemical Life Support- Water Recovery & Management Systems- Technology and Process Development
The 50th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held virtually on 12 July 2021 through 14 July 2021.


water, biofilm, microbial