NASA says Aequor Successfully Eliminates All Microbes in Key Test

Aequor, Inc.
3 min readJul 25, 2019

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Cynthia Burzell (Aequor), Mononita Nur (Aerospace Engineer, NASA) and Layne Carter (ISS Water Subsystem Manager, NASA)

Aequor’s A1026 antibacterial and antibiofilm inhibitor entirely eliminated microbial growth in the International Space Station’s water supply system simulator within the first day of testing.

On July 11, NASA, the U.S. space agency, announced the results of a three-year long pilot project designed to address the problem of the formation of microbial biofilms in the water supply of the International Space Station (ISS). The experiment revealed that Aequor’s A1026 non-toxic active dispersing agent entirely eliminated microbial growth within one day of the test beginning. This represents the strongest and most positive possible outcome at this stage of the program.

Key to the future of humans in space is the safety of astronauts’ water supply. It may seem obvious that in order for our species to survive and thrive in space, or anywhere, they require a reliable, recurring stream of clean, potable water. But spaceflight poses unique challenges to this reality for a number of reasons. Chief among these is that the water supply must be constantly recycled and purified for ongoing use by the crew for everything from bathing to drinking. Toxic biocides and disinfecting remedies cannot be used because they cannot be safely stored or disposed of in Space. This creates an environment in which dangerous bacteria and biofilm can form, putting astronauts at serious risk of illness or worse.

Biofilms can be defined as “a collective of one or more types of microorganisms that can grow on many different surfaces.” These biofilms form on and between surfaces throughout the natural and human-built environments, harboring potentially harmful bacteria and fungi. Although largely unknown in the popular imagination, biofilms are everywhere and are associated with most infections and diseases. Existing disinfecting products and antibiotics cannot remove biofilms at non-toxic doses. Their overuse only cause greater harm to humans and the environment by causing pollution and spawning the resistant Superbugs. Aequor is unique in having developed anti-biofilm products that are both highly effective and non-toxic.

NASA announced the test results at the International Conference on Environmental Systems in Boston on July 11. ICES was started in 1971 “with a focus on the dissemination of technical and scientific information on topics related to humans living in space and working in extreme environments. The conference includes technical sessions, panel discussions, and published proceedings.

Phase II of testing for Aequor’s A1026 product will continue to determine, in particular, trends in microbial growth when not treated, and the nature of the bacteria under low or zero gravity conditions. Future testing may also involve seeding water tanks with a microbial “cocktail” to determine the effectiveness of the product after several months of inactivity.

Beyond use in manned spaceflight, Aequor’s antibiofilm products can be used in consumer, industrial, and medical industries to reduce contamination and infection. In all of these areas, the problem of hazardous biofilm is significant and largely unaddressed. The success of Aequor’s work with NASA is a major positive sign for the future of these industries as well.

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Aequor, Inc.

Aequor’s proprietary green chemicals are novel, sustainable substitutes for toxic and ineffective biocides and antibiofilm/antifouling agents.