Author Topic: Russian milk fermentation in space experiment  (Read 1607 times)

Offline AegeanBlue

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Russian milk fermentation in space experiment
« on: 04/20/2017 06:12 PM »
According to Sputnik News, and several other website that run a similar story, an experiment to make kefir in space is headed to the ISS

https://sputniknews.com/science/201704191052781205-russia-iss-cosmonauts-fermenting-milk/

Does anyone know more details and where I could find them, preferably not in Russian which I do not speak or read? Obviously they are not sending fresh milk, but is it going to be powder milk, condensed milk, UHT milk or what form in general? What does the apparatus look like? Who is behind the experiment and does it have a heritage of previous experiments, or is it the first space milk fermentation?

Any pointers in the right direction are welcome

Offline asmi

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Re: Russian milk fermentation in space experiment
« Reply #1 on: 04/21/2017 02:37 PM »
I did some googling around, and the only thing I was able to find is that cosmonauts will only need to add some water. Which probably means they will be using powdered milk.

Offline eeergo

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Re: Russian milk fermentation in space experiment
« Reply #2 on: 04/21/2017 02:47 PM »
This is the official experiment page from Energiya:

http://www.energia.ru/ru/iss/researches/biology/28.html

(Google Translate does a good job)

Freeze-dried milk (сублимационно высушенного молокo) is used, after grinding it to obtain a suitable growth medium - one of the objectives of the experiment. The kefir is grown from the pills "Vitaflor" (Витафлор) containing two symbiotic strains of Lactobacillus Acidophilus.

By the way, the experiment is called "Probiovit".
« Last Edit: 04/21/2017 02:51 PM by eeergo »
-DaviD-

Offline SMS

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Re: Russian milk fermentation in space experiment
« Reply #3 on: 04/21/2017 03:23 PM »
English version at: http://www.energia.ru/en/iss/researches/biology/28.html is also available  :)

Interesting movie on (but only in Russian)

« Last Edit: 04/21/2017 03:40 PM by SMS »
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SMS ;-).

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Russian milk fermentation in space experiment
« Reply #4 on: 04/21/2017 10:44 PM »
Thank you all for your help. The Energia website mentions a Mikrovit kit; Google search for Mikrovit returns fish food and zinc fertilizer, both of which are rather unlikely in this context. Also there does not seem to be heritage to this experiment, while the Advanced Plant Habitat builds upon VEGGIE and older experiments on Mir and Salyut Space stations, Probiovit seems to be new experiment. I saw the video linked and used the automatic translation of the subtitles into English to try to understand what it was saying, and it seems to confirm that it is a brand new experiment. Also if I understood the badly machine translated subtitles the cosmonauts will eat 20% of the kefir and send the rest down to earth for testing and experiments. Yurchikin, who has a Greek mother, does speak Greek, albeit with a very strong accent, I wish that he would have narrated that video in my language.

To summarize what you have all shared with me: It is an experiment called Probiovit run by Energia. The idea is that for long term space flight such as the trip to Mars cosmonauts will be able to transform milk getting to expiration date to kefir so as to extend food shelf life. They will use freeze dried milk in the experiment, which seems to be a standard product in the food supplies of the ISS. The experiment will also be monitored through images and video from the ground, in addition to the cosmonauts. Most of the kefir will be taken to Earth for testing but some 20% will be kept on the station and be eaten by the crew, eventually like VEGGIE.

If I missed or misunderstood something let me know. If something else gets posted on the web and eventually when something gets published, let's put it on this thread.

Offline brickmack

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Re: Russian milk fermentation in space experiment
« Reply #5 on: 04/22/2017 07:13 PM »
The idea is that for long term space flight such as the trip to Mars cosmonauts will be able to transform milk getting to expiration date to kefir so as to extend food shelf life. They will use freeze dried milk in the experiment, which seems to be a standard product in the food supplies of the ISS.

Why though? From some googling, powdered milk should last 10-20 years if properly stored, thats easily long enough for any conceivable Mars flight even with pre-positioning of supplies years in advance. Surely they're not planning to use liquid-packaged milk on a Mars flight?

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Russian milk fermentation in space experiment
« Reply #6 on: 04/23/2017 06:06 AM »
Well, properly stored means in the dark and away from heat and radiation. The first two parts are easy, but not the third part. We really do not know what is the effect of cosmic radiation to food in general but if it is like radiation to food on earth, it is not good. In any case people get bored of drinking milk every day, they may just want to try something else

Offline asmi

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Re: Russian milk fermentation in space experiment
« Reply #7 on: 04/24/2017 02:18 AM »
Well, properly stored means in the dark and away from heat and radiation. The first two parts are easy, but not the third part. We really do not know what is the effect of cosmic radiation to food in general but if it is like radiation to food on earth, it is not good. In any case people get bored of drinking milk every day, they may just want to try something else
I think that is the point of this experiment - you can make several different products from milk by using different cultures, which would provide some variety.

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