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Published on Dec 14, 2011
Sara Ma and Dorothy Chen, juniors from Troy High School
Experiment: Send Bacillus subtilis into space in order to observe the changes in its virulence after being exposed to a microgravity environment. Salmonella grown in such an environment showed increased virulence upon returning to Earth, most likely due to an increased fluid shear that made the salmonella think it was growing in a human gut.
We would like to test whether the same effects apply to this fungicide: Bacillus subtilis. We are curious as to whether the same factors that curbed salmonella's virulence will have the same effect on B. subtilis's effectiveness as a fungicide.
Alternately, we are also interested in the probiotic capabilities of B. subtilis. Increased virulence in probiotics is beneficial. It indicates that the "good" bacteria is more efficient at out-competing "bad" bacteria.
If our hypothesis is supported, more research may be done to develop methods of decreasing the virulence of certain diseases, with the aid of microgravity.