Gentamicin: Effect on E. coli in space

M. A. Kacena, P. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Previous investigations have shown that liquid bacterial cultures grown in space flight were not killed as effectively by antibiotic treatments as were cultures grown on Earth. However, the cause for the decreased antibiotic effectiveness remains unknown. Possible explanations include modified cell proliferation and modified antibiotic transport in the culture medium. Escherichia coli cultures were grown in space flight (STS-69 and STS-73), with and without gentamicin, on a solid agar substrate thus eliminating fluid effects and reducing the unknowns associated with space-flight bacterial cultures in suspension. This research showed that E. coli cultures grown in flight on agar for 24 to 27 hours experienced a heightened growth compared to simultaneous controls. However, addition of gentamicin to the agar killed the bacteria such that both flight and ground control E. coli samples had similar final cell concentrations. Therefore, while the reported existence of a decrease in antibiotic effectiveness in liquid cultures remains unexplained, these data suggest that gentamicin in space flight was at least as effective as, if not more effective than, on Earth, when E. coli cells were grown on agar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-137
Number of pages3
JournalMicrogravity Science and Technology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Applied Mathematics

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