April Harding - Southern University at New Orleans
Co-Author(s): Neyda Chacon, Pamela Marshall, Christian Clement, and Illya Tietzel, Southern University at New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
Nanoparticles are increasingly being used in the manufacture of the air and space industry. Strategic road maps of NASA plan the increased use of nanoparticles in the next years. Microbes are ubiquitous and interact with nanoparticles. Very few information is available if microbes can break down nanoparticles including those used for spacecraft. The increased use of nanoparticles and the ubiquitous nature of microbes make this a pressing research question. Bacilli such as Bacillus cereus were found on spacecraft. Therefore, it is hypothesized that bacteria can degrade nanoparticles. In order to test the hypothesis three different types of nanoparticles were tested; sulfate, amino, and carboxylate. Degradation was studied with morphometric analysis using ImageJ software. This software was used to compare the different area sizes of the nanoparticles without or with exposure to microbes. Nanoparticles of the same size (1000nm) were obtained from the Polyscience Inc: amino, sulfate, and carboxylate. Nanoparticles in dilution series alone or together with Bacillus cereus were incubated at room temperature over night. Morphometric analysis using Image J showed an average size of carboxylate nanoparticles of 0.4 area size (arbitrary units) without bacteria and 0.1 with bacteria. Sulfate nanoparticles alone had an area size of 0.06 compared to 0.01 with microbes and amino nanoparticles were 0.1 compared to 0.04 with exposure to bacteria.
These data suggest that nanoparticles can be degraded by microbes such as B. cereus. In the future, different nanoparticles and microbes will be used. The chemical reactions of B. cereus that degrade nanoparticles needs to be studied.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): The research was supported by NASA CAN NNX13AR32 - subcontracts OSP-14-216821-00E and OSP-14-216821-02E to I. Tietzel.
Faculty Advisor: Illya Tietzel,