Poisoning bug grows super-strong in space

October 5, 2007

Bad news for astronauts: a bug that causes food poisoning gets stronger in space.

Scientists at Arizona State University found that salmonella underwent genetic changes in space flight that made it more virulent. After the changes, the bacteria were almost three times as likely as those on Earth to cause the illness.

The researchers put test tubes of the bacteria in a sealed compartment on the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

The team found a regulatory protein that may have a role in the increase in virulence; tackling it could offer a route to a vaccine.

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