Contrails
The goal of the Contrails project is to help preserve and disseminate the technical record of 20th century aerospace research, highlighting in particular the research endeavors of the Illinois Tech community.

A Study of Microbiological Waste Treatment Techniques

Report Number: AMRL TDR 62-142
Author: Bierberdorf, Frederick W.
Corporate Author: Southwest Research Institute
Laboratory: Biomedical Laboratory
Date of Publication: 1962-11
Pages: 87
Contract: AF 33(616)-8153
Project: 7164
Task: 716403
AD Number: AD0299018

Abstract:
A number of chemical and microbiological methods for the disposal of human wastes have been surveyed. On space flights of moderate duration (ca 100 to 1000 days) it would be most practical to treat the wastes with biocides and store them after dehydration for recovery of the water. On longer flights the wastes either must be chemically or microbiologically oxidized so that the carbon and chemically bound water could be recovered and used in photosynthesis. Chemical oxidation is more rapid and complete but requires the use of elaborate equipment and the possible expenditure of some heat energy. Microbiological degradation is slower but takes place at a lower temperature. When used in conjunction with a photosynthetic step, this might be the best solution to the problem for use of lunar colonies or prolonged space voyages. A procedure is suggested by which algal and bacterial colonies separated by semipermeable membranes could be used for waste digestion and reutilization of the carbon. An alternative to this procedure is suggested in which methane-utilizing bacteria and algae are used symbiotically for the conversion of wastes to protoplasm, with a minimum expenditure of energy.


Provenance:
RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine
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