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Salmonella bacteria  (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Salmonella causes many food-related illnesses across the world, with researchers poorly understanding how to combat the bacteria

Even though most people connect NASA with space research involving new planets, many manned shuttle launches include science experiments to help analyze organic material.  Two recent NASA missions helped researchers on Earth better understand the Salmonella bacteria, hopefully moving one step towards stopping food poisoning and other food-borne infections.

"This research opens up new areas for investigations that may improve food treatment, develop new therapies and vaccines to combat food poisoning in humans here on Earth, and protect astronauts on orbit from infectious diseases," International Space Station program scientist Julie Robinson said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than 40,000 people in the United States per year suffer from Salmonella infections.

The NASA experiments launched to the ISS in September 2006 and March 2008, with different goals designed for both research projects.  Findings from the 2006 research revealed a molecular "switch" that allows Salmonella to respond to spaceflight and the harsh environment of space in a manner that it doesn't need to while on Earth.  Space Salmonella was found to be more poisonous and harmful, as it was forced to adjust.

The 2008 Salmonella experiment confirmed researchers' findings in 2006, and found its virulence alters depending on its growth environment.  Researchers were able to use both studies to help try and stop Salmonella's strong virulence effect, which could lead to better treatments while unlocking an important piece to the puzzle.

Researchers will continue to work to try and better understand Salmonella's gene expression, with future Salmonella space research likely in the future.

Salmonella most recently made headlines when peanut butter manufacturers were forced to issue an industry wide peanut butter recall that could cause $1 billion in lost production and sales for the industry.



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oh noes
By MadMan007 on 3/17/2009 4:27:48 PM , Rating: 3
Screw wiping out infectious diseases, what will save us when the aliens invade?




RE: oh noes
By TheSpaniard on 3/17/2009 4:34:50 PM , Rating: 2
the bacteria will of course!

those bacteria havent been practicing on us for nothing!!


RE: oh noes
By PhoenixKnight on 3/17/2009 6:09:47 PM , Rating: 2
Plus, we know that we can grow that bacteria in space to produce super-bacteria to decimate our would-be alien overlords.


RE: oh noes
By TheSpaniard on 3/18/2009 10:54:35 PM , Rating: 2
who says bioweapons are out of style


RE: oh noes
By Trikat on 3/17/2009 6:03:50 PM , Rating: 5
Alien shields (if any) can be bypassed with a computer virus loaded by Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. Missiles and bullets (etc.) will finish them off.


RE: oh noes
By Ticholo on 3/18/2009 6:08:17 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, but they still have to infiltrate the alien's ship, first. The bacteria could be used as a distraction while they do that.


RE: oh noes
By JonnyDough on 3/20/2009 7:03:50 AM , Rating: 2
I think you mean, what will save us from ourselves when we keep breeding and never die off from "natural causes"?


By phazers on 3/17/2009 4:25:30 PM , Rating: 3
Salmon, obviously :)

/jk




By FaceMaster on 3/17/2009 4:37:22 PM , Rating: 3
That is probably the worst joke that I've ever heard. Apart from your Mum.


By JonnyDough on 3/20/2009 7:05:50 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah well, your daddy's so fat...

Alright, let's not get them started. Down boys (and girls, don't want to be sexist here)!


As the Onion reports...
By Lord 666 on 3/17/2009 4:24:05 PM , Rating: 5
This research really is the groundwork to get salmonella on the approved food additive list.

Once that is done, people can eat penut butter again ;)




This is only the beginning
By lennylim on 3/18/2009 2:07:13 AM , Rating: 2
After this, NASA will work on understanding progressively higher order life forms, until finally, billions of years from now, hopefully we can understand women.




Why do I picture
By Mitch101 on 3/18/2009 9:25:15 AM , Rating: 2
Hey Jenkins eat this!
No Way
Lets give it to Mikey hell eat anything.

Before you know it Mikey has Mr Scientist Duck taped in the trunk of his car driving toward Texas wearing a diaper so he doesn't have to make as many stops.




By bkslopper on 3/18/2009 9:48:25 AM , Rating: 2
Why NASA? Wouldn't the FDA or even Nabisco be a better source for researching food-borne diseases?




Good research here
By afkrotch on 3/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good research here
By Ratinator on 3/17/2009 4:25:11 PM , Rating: 3
If throwing satellites at Saturn isn't useful, why would more money or better space crafts make a difference in your opinion.


RE: Good research here
By Brainonska511 on 3/17/2009 5:26:39 PM , Rating: 1
You can't just design some spacecraft like you'd see in StarTrek; incremental steps is how things will get better when it comes to space travel. Don't forget the technology that will trickle out of new spacecraft design and other planetary research - better understanding of various scientific concepts and new technologies to use for other purposes back home. But with your head stuck so far up your ass, you can't see that.


RE: Good research here
By TimberJon on 3/17/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good research here
By MadMan007 on 3/18/2009 12:44:56 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe we can throw you at Saturn instead.


RE: Good research here
By Ticholo on 3/18/2009 6:13:10 AM , Rating: 1
Next item on NASA's list: Throw Salmonella at Saturn!


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