The objective of this study was to present proposed design characteristics and applications of automated biomonitoring devices for real-time toxicity detection in drinking water supplies on-board permanent space stations. Tests in transmissions of automated biomonitoring data to earth-receiving stations were simulated using satellite data linkage from remote earth-based stations.
Automated biomonitoring can provide real-time physiological response information resulting from cause/effect relationships between toxicants and selected aquatic animals. Because the reliability of information from a single-species or from specific physical/chemical water quality parameters may not provide comprehensive protection from a wide variety of potentially toxic compounds, a computer-assisted multiple species biosensing system designed for water quality monitoring was developed. Emphasis was placed on developing methods for detecting species-specific bioelectric potentials produced by unrestrained bivalve mussels and other sedentary invertebrates since these animals are presumably more easily maintained in near zero gravity than fish. In achieving this objective, differential amplifiers were constructed for measuring a wide range of response signals induced by various biological activities from fish and invertebrate subjects. Specific responses were detected as discrete analog signals, each converted to a digital voltage, and filed in computer storage. A management program provided various means for data gathering, filing, and retrieval.