EXPERIMENT RECORD N° 9567
MATISS-1 - Microbial Aerosol Tethering on Innovative Surfaces in the international space Station (CNES National Contribution)
  1. 2016 • ISS Increments 49-50
  2. 2017 • ISS Increments 51-52
L. Lemelle (1), C. Place (1), J.F. Palierne (1), C. Vaillant (1), L. Campagnolo (2)
(1)  
CNRS
ENS de Lyon
Laboratoire Joliot Curie - Laboratoire de Physique
FRANCE
Tel:  
+33(0)4.72.72.89.321
e-mail:  
laurence.lemelle@ens-lyon.fr
(2)  
CNES / CADMOS
FRANCE
Tel:  
+33(0)5.61.27.33.63
e-mail:  
lucie.campagnolo@cnes.fr
(3)  
CEA Tech-LETI
FRANCE
(4)  
Saint Gobain
FRANCE
BACKGROUND
Antimicrobial surfaces are surfaces that contain an antimicrobial agent that inhibits or reduces the ability of microorganisms to survive on the surface.

Technical R&D is first required to assess which type of antimicrobial surfaces is the most suitable for spacecraft environment. Antimicrobial surfaces are functionalised in a variety of different processes. The effective substance which is impregnated in the surface can be for example organic antimicrobial agents which are released from the material when a microbial cell comes in contact. Inorganic materials are also used as antimicrobial agents, e.g. silver and copper ions in the synthetic materials prevent microbial growth. Other surfaces may be functionalised by attaching antimicrobial polymer, or polypeptide to them..

In particular, some surfaces have self-cleaning properties. For example, super-hydrophobic surfaces are low energy, generally rough surfaces on which water has a contact angle of >150°. Making a surface super-hydrophobic represents an efficient means of imparting antimicrobial activity. A passive antibacterial effect results from the poor ability of microorganisms to adhere to these surfaces.

Bacteria are a big problem in space as they tend to build up in the constantly-recycled atmosphere of the International Space Station. The MATISS Experiment proposes an in-situ evaluation of pre-selected antimicrobial surfaces under microgravity.

OBJECTIVE
The purpose of the MATISS experiment is to evaluate the suitability of anti-microbial surfaces, and in particular of super-hydrophobic surfaces, to reduce surface microbial contamination in manned spacecraft. France’s space agency CNES has selected five advanced materials that should stop bacteria from settling and growing on the surface.
Researchers will also monitor how bacteria form biofilms that protect them from cleaning agents and help them adhere to surfaces.

APPLICATION OF THE RESEARCH

Antimicrobial surfaces have several ground applications of high interest:

Environmental health: Antimicrobial surfaces can be implemented in hospitals in order to reduce nosocomial disease proliferation, for example on various touch surfaces such as bedrails, handrails, over-bed tables, sinks, faucets, door knobs, toilet hardware …

Surgery: Antimicrobial surfaces can be implemented directly on joint prostheses to prevent the growth of the bacteria that can lead to these infections. This can been achieved by coating titanium devices with an antiseptic combination of chlorhexidine and chloroxylenol. This antiseptic combination successfully prevents the growth of the five main organisms that cause medical related infections.

Mass transport: To prevent the proliferation of pandemics, commonly touched surfaces such as handrails, stair rails grab bars, chairs, benches, lift button etc… can be coated with antimicrobial surfaces

Fundamental science: Without gravity, observing how the microbes can attach to hostile surfaces under microgravity can help to understand the fundamental mechanisms of attachment and biofilms formation, and to design appropriate countermeasure.

FOLLOW-UP EXPERIMENTS
MATISS-2.5 - Microbial Aerosol Tethering on Innovative Surfaces in the international space Station
ISS Increments 61-62 - 2019 

MATISS-2 - Microbial Aerosol Tethering on Innovative Surfaces in the international space Station
ISS Increments 55-56 / 57-58 / 59-60 - 2018-2019
4 surface holders (with super-hydrophobic coatings or surface micro manufacturing) will be uploaded to the International Space Station and ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will placed the holders next to areas in the European research laboratory Columbus, where biocontamination is particularly high: on the European Drawer Rack (EDR), on the European Physiology Modules (EPM) and at air vents. The units are open on the sides to let air flow naturally through and collect any bacteria passing by.

During each session, the crewmember will be asked to unpack the 4 surface holders from the transport box and to attach them using Velcros on the Station´s surfaces.
The proposed locations are:
- MATISS Holder S/N 1: Cabin Air Diffusers (OA3)
MATISS Holder S/N 2 & S/N 3: Air Return Grid (Return Grid Sensor Housing) It has been agreed to place two sample holders (duplicate on the top of the air return Grid (RGSH inlet mesh)).
MATISS Holder S/N 4: EDR
After minimum of 3 months (max. 6 months), the surfaces holders will be retrieved, the sides of the holders taped to block other bacteria from entering and wrapped in plastic.
The holders will be stowed in the dedicated kit for return to ground with the Soyuz spacecraft at the end of the Proxima mission. (Note: The longer the MATISS sample holders are exposed in the cabin, the better it is for science.) After download, the surfaces are observed and analysed in the laboratory to assess the efficiency of the surface properties to prevent biological contamination.

Answers to the following questions are hoped to be found:
  • How the bacteria attach to smart surface in microgravity?
  • Are the smart surfaces efficient in space conditions?
  • Which type of surface treatment is the most appropriated for manned spacecraft design?
A minimum of 1 session (4 surface holders) is required during the duration of the Proxima mission.

The materials are a diverse mix of advanced technology - from self-assembly monolayers and green polymers to ceramic polymers and water-repellent hybrid silica. France’s CNES space agency, in collaboration with the ENS University of Lyon, research institute CEA Tech-LETI and construction company Saint-Gobain, selected five advanced materials that could stop bacteria from settling and growing on the surface. A sixth element, made of glass, is used as control material.

SURFACES DESCRIPTION 
Surface 1
Treatment
Control: commercial glass lamella
Precision 22 x 22 mm cover glasses thickness No. 1.5H (tol. ± 5 μm) from Marienfield.

Surface 2
Treatment
FDTS coating: FDTS surface is made of a nanometric layer of fluor-organo-silane covalently bound to the surface, deposed in vapor phase.

Surface 3
Treatment
Parylene coating: Parylene surface is made of poly-p-xylylène. The polymer is biocompatible and deposition is done in vapor phase. Thickness is 1 μm.

Surface 4
Treatment
SiOC coating: SiOC surface is made of a layer of cross-linked organo-silicate deposed in vapor phase. Organo-silicate compounds are covalently bound to the surface. Thickness of the layer is tens of nanometers.

Surface 5
Treatment
Textured surface: A sub-micrometer thick layer of hybrid silica made following the sol-gel process (precursor MethylTriethoxySilane) is applied on the surface through spin-coating. The layer is latter embossed. Mold and substrate are allowed to cool and the mold is removed, leaving in the layer, the positive image of the imprinted structure. Pillars are 10 μm diameter and 10 μm height. Organised in square network with a 30 μm period.

Surface 6
Treatment
Hydrophobic textured surface: Surface is similar to #5 but its surface is functionalised with deposition of fluor-organo-silane.

PARAMETER MEASURED
After retrieval of the samples, the following parameters will be
measured:
- Quantity of bacterial and dust sediments
- Shape of aggregates on the surfaces
- Identification of bacterial microbiome
click on items to display

Figure 1: MATISS surfaces.

Figure 2: The surfaces are mounted in the Sample Holder.

Figure 3: MATISS stowage box, containing 4 MATISS sample holders. The sample holder contain 1 witness surface and 5 “transformed surfaces” which have the same dimensions (glass 22 mm x 22 mm x 170 μm).

Figure 4: MATISS floating before installation.

Figure 5: MATISS installed.

Figure 6: The MATISS experiment is investigating antibacterial properties of materials in space to see if future spacecraft could be made easier to clean. The experiment consists of four identical plaques that ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will place in the European Columbus laboratory and leave for at least three months. France’s CNES space agency, in collaboration with the ENS Universityof Lyon, research institute CEA Tech-LETI and construction company Saint-Gobain, selected five advanced materials that could stop bacteria from settling and growing on the surface. A sixth element, made of glass, is used as control material. The materials are a diverse mix of advanced technology - from self-assembly monolayers and green polymers to ceramic polymers and water-repellent hybrid silica. The smart materials should stop bacteria from sticking to the surface and growing, effectively making them easier to clean and more hygienic - but which one works best? The units are open on the sides to let air flow naturally through and collect any bacteria floating past. ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet will put the four units on the European Drawer Rack, on the European Physiology Modules and at air vents. At the end of his mission in June 2017 he will tape the sides to block other bacteria from entering and wrap them in plastic. They will be returned for analysis in the Soyuz spacecraft alongside Thomas Pesquet.. credit: CNES-Emmanuel Grimault

Figure 7: Location of sample holder S/N 1 in the European Physiology Modules - EPM. credit: CNES/CADMOS

Figure 8: Location of sample holder S/N 2 & S/N 3 in the RGSH - Return Grid Sensor Housing and Air Return Grid (left and right). credit: CNES/CADMOS

Figure 9: Location of sample holder S/N 4 in the European Physiology Modules - EPM. credit: CNES/CADMOS
 
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