Science

Bacteria found on International Space Station gets named after Indian scientist Ajmal Khan


The entire world is suffering amid the coronavirus pandemic. The virus has completely shattered the world and it will take some time to come out of it. In a recent development, a new bacteria was discovered on the International Space Station (ISS). 

According to a study published in the Frontiers in Microbiology, four strains from the family of Mytholobacteriaceae were found on various locations on the International Space Station (ISS) across two consecutive flights on Monday (March 15). The research was carried out at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology which was commissioned with NASA and the University of Southern California. 

The crew of scientists and researchers also included a team from the India’s University of Hyderabad. 

Astronauts from various crews have been collecting the samples from eight different spots on the space station since 2014. This has been done in order to supervise the presence of microbes. 

According to the study published, three out of four bacterias are completely new to mankind and have never been spotted. The Mytholobacteriaceae family supports the plant in their growth, fight pathogens that take a toll on them and many other things. The four strains are from this very family of Mytholobacteriaceae. 

According to scientists, the three unknown bacterias are rod-shaped in nature and are closely related to the other species Mythalobacterium indicium. The one known bacteria found on the ISS is Methyl Rubrum rhodesianum. The study said, “Three of the strains, referred to as IF7SW-B2T, IIF1SW-B5, and IIF4SW-B5, were identified based on the traditional and genomic taxonomic approaches.”

The study summarised by saying that “Since these ISS strains were isolated at different time periods and from various locations, their persistence in the ISS environment and ecology significance in the closed systems warrant further study.”

The paper mentions that one of the strain Methylobacterium ajmalii is named after an India scientist Ajmal Khan. He is well known for his work on biodiversity. Syed Ajmal Khan is a professor at Tamil Nadu’s  Annamalai University.

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