Life on Earth continues to confuse scientists with their ability to endure difficult conditions. From lichens living in the frozen Arctic to thermophiles that thrive in hot hydrothermal springs, life easily survives the extremes it faces on Earth. Therefore, it is not surprising that mushrooms have been found on NASA spacecraft while hitchhiking with humans.
Microscopic inhabitants such as simple strains are still relatively unclear, unlike bacteria in space.
It is well known that these small molds can cause health problems for people with weakened immune systems and people in stressful environments.
And the surprising discovery of mushrooms in space has caused concern.
For astronauts, the tedious experience of astronaut survival has been shown to affect the astronaut's immune system.
This prompted a team from the Belgian University of Ghent to investigate how fungi can affect the health of people living in space.
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However, research has done little to mitigate concerns.
Professor Sarah de Saeger, co-author of the pharmaceutical journalist of the new newspaper, said: "We found almost nothing about mycotoxins."
This lack of knowledge is problematic because the fungi found on NASA spacecraft, such as Aspergillus flavus and members of the genus Alternaria, can produce carcinogenic and immunosuppressant compounds.
And these molecules often form when mushrooms are stressed.
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The rationale is that if space is a stressful environment for humans, it could also be a burden on fungi.
Whether astronauts are actually affected by such toxins is not known, according to Professor de Saeger.
The Ghent University team believes that space agencies like NASA should better recognize and explore mycotoxins in space.
Explicitly, the researchers suggest that new methods of monitoring the surfaces and atmospheres of spacecraft should be developed.
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Currently, most fungal detection is done by sending samples to laboratories on earth. However, this is for long-term space missions, eg. For example, a highly anticipated manned Mars mission is not possible.
Professor De Saeger emphasized, however, that the presence of mycotoxins is not necessarily an urgent danger to astronauts.
Millions of us here on Earth are often exposed to these microscopic links, but their specific contribution to various diseases is not always easy to find.
However, fungi can grow and develop in the closed environment of a long-lasting space mission.
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Dr. Adriana Blachowicz, who studied fungi on the International Space Station but was not involved in the study at the University of Ghent, said, "I think the biggest message is that fungi and bacteria are an integral part of the human body.
"Wherever we go, mushrooms and bacteria will follow."
Bacteria have been shown to become more virulent in space, and so there are some fears that mushrooms might work just as well, the University of Southern California added.
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