Space Fungi Could Help Medical Breakthroughs


NASA Researchers are sending fungi to space. This is for an experiment that should help health care through development of medicine. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists together with the University of Southern California is sending fungi to outer space, specifically, the International Space Station. These curious group of researchers are hoping that whatever the environment up there in the International Space Station will eventually develop he fungi. The low gravity and high radiation should help stress the fungi to develop new characteristics that seems to be improbable on Earth. PixabayFredkin Gate Drags Humanity Closer to Quantum Computing Fungi may summon unpleasant images, but they do are used in developing medicines. Fungi when stressed out produces helpful materials that could create products we usually have today, Penicillin being the most popular. These drugs come from secondary metabolites of fungi. These are byproducts that organisms produce during stressful conditions. For those concerned with the welfare of the fungi, these byproducts are not needed in the essential functions of the organisms.Like us on Facebook “In nature, fungi only make what they need to respond to their environment,” said Clay Wang, from the University of South Carolina School of Pharmacy. “These pathways are like a set of tools or weapons in their arsenal, and most of the time they are not in use.”   The harsh environment on the ISS could trigger fungi response. ISS orbits approximately 200 miles above Earth. The conditions up there might create a compound that can be helpful in fighting diseases from osteoporosis to cancer. Any groundbreaking event up there may help reduce the cost of medicine production. The featured fungus for this research is Aspergillus nidulans. Aspergillus nidulans have the potential to be used in treatment for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and quite ironically, fungal infections. Wang cited how conditions in space can prompt the fungus strain Aspergillus nidulans to produce molecules it would not otherwise create when it is in a less stressful environment. Based on research, molecules from Aspergillus nidulans have potential use as treatment for cancer, fungal infection and Alzheimer’s disease. “We’ve done extensive genetic analysis of this fungus and found that it could potentially produce 40 different types of drugs,” Wang added. “The organism is known to produce osteoporosis drugs, which is very important from an astronaut’s perspective because we know that in space travel, astronauts experience bone loss.” Different strains of Aspergillius nidulans are going to be sent to space in a rocket (Falcon 9), which is set to launch on April 8. The fungus will be sent back to Earth come May 10 this year. Photo: Pixabay, Pixabay