Title

Using Microbes to Filter Air in the International Space Station

Presenter Information

Sarah Rommelfanger

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Biological Sciences

Research Advisor

Westenberg, David J.

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

On human ventures into space like on the International Space Station, efficient recycling of air is critical to survival. Currently, the HEPA system filters air while electrolysis produces oxygen from water, both of which are energy-expensive processes. Phytofiltration uses plants and soil microbes to efficiently sequester harmful compounds and C02 and produce oxygen in the same system with little energy input. While this system is efficient, space on the ISS is limited. My research goal is to devise a microbial community with the same functions as a phytofiltration system, including a) activated carbon b) the soil microbes present in a phytofiltration system and c) photosynthetic microbes that fulfill the multicellular plant's role in the system. This system would have all the advantages over the HEPA and electrolysis processes that phytofiltration does, but be more compact.

Biography

Sarah is a transfer student that arrived at Missouri S& Tin January of 2012. She is currently a senior Biological Sciences major and President of the iGEM design team. She participates in on-campus research, and has also been award two summer research internships, one in 2011 at the University of California at Riverside one in 2013 at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. She aspires toward a career in research where she can utilize her experience in genetic engineering toward goals of environmental sustainability.

Research Category

Research Proposals

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hallway

Presentation Date

03 Apr 2013, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Apr 3rd, 1:00 PM Apr 3rd, 3:00 PM

Using Microbes to Filter Air in the International Space Station

Upper Atrium/Hallway

On human ventures into space like on the International Space Station, efficient recycling of air is critical to survival. Currently, the HEPA system filters air while electrolysis produces oxygen from water, both of which are energy-expensive processes. Phytofiltration uses plants and soil microbes to efficiently sequester harmful compounds and C02 and produce oxygen in the same system with little energy input. While this system is efficient, space on the ISS is limited. My research goal is to devise a microbial community with the same functions as a phytofiltration system, including a) activated carbon b) the soil microbes present in a phytofiltration system and c) photosynthetic microbes that fulfill the multicellular plant's role in the system. This system would have all the advantages over the HEPA and electrolysis processes that phytofiltration does, but be more compact.