sciencehabit writes: There's a little known, dirty story about the International Space Station (ISS): It's filled with bacteria and fungi. A new study has found compelling evidence that microorganisms from human skin are present throughout the station, and some of the bugs could cause serious harm to astronauts.The most concerning finding was from the "high-efficiency particulate arrestance" (HEPA) air filter used in the ISS: 99.65% of the viable sequences they retrieved came from Actinobacteria. The Actinobacteria phylum includes Corynebacterium and Propionibacterium; each genus was found in the ISS samples at a high level, which is "problematic," say the researchers, because they both have species that are opportunistic pathogens. Astronauts who live in microgravity for prolonged periods also can have compromised immune systems.
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