Determination of the Indigenous Microflora of Men in Controlled Environments

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Report Number: AMRL TR 66-33
Author(s): Riely, Phyllis E., Geib, Donna, Shorenstein, Dian
Corporate Author(s): Republic Aviation Division, Fairchild Hiller Corporation
Laboratory: Aerospace Medical Research Laboratories
Date of Publication: 1966-04
Pages: 386
Contract: AF 33(615)-1814
DoD Project: 7164
DoD Task: 716405
Identifier: AD0636946

The objective of the study was to collect, under controlled conditions simulating space travel, microbiological data from 13 body areas of 20 subjects and their specialized environment. These data were evaluated to establish biomedical criteria for personal hygiene and sanitation for aerospace missions, and to suggest possible indices of the deterioration of environmental conditions. Data derived in the study provided information on microbial dynamics, the effects of confinement stress on the microbiological populations of individuals, and information on bacterial levels in the closed environment. The study strengthened the evidence that, in general, man can go without bathing for 6 weeks without significant deterioration of the dermis. It pointed out the importance of sampling the groin and glands penis as 'indicator' areas which quickly signal deterioration in hygienic standards. The specific buildup of both corynebacteria and micrococcaceae species in almost all sampled body sites was significant. Another objective of the program was to study the effects of the various space-type diets on the fecal flora of the subjects. The data revealed that although the obligately anaerobic character of the feces remained unchanged, the types of anaerobes recovered differed markedly from those found to be predominant in the 'normal' population. The shift in the types of anaerobic bacteria is discussed from the viewpoints of vitamin production, lactic acid production, and deaminating and decarboxylating activities.

Provenance: RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine

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