The effect of space flight on the production of actinomycin D by Streptomyces plicatus
The effect of space flight on production of the antibiotic actinomycin D by Streptomyces plicatus WC56452 was examined onboard the US Space Shuttle mission STS-80. Paired space flight and ground control samples were similarly prepared using identical hardware, media, and inoculum. The cultures were grown in defined and complex media under dark, anaerobic, thermally controlled (20°C) conditions with samples fixed after 7 and 12 days in orbit, and viable residuals maintained through landing at 17 days, 15 h. Postflight analyses indicated that space flight had reduced the colony-forming unit (CFU) per milliliter count of S. plicatus and increased the specific productivity (pg CFU−1) of actinomycin D. The antibiotic compound itself was not affected, but its production time course was altered in space. Viable flight samples also maintained their sporulation ability when plated on agar medium postflight, while the residual ground controls did not sporulate.
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