A new culture-independent system for microbial monitoring, called the Lab-On-a-Chip Application Development Portable Test System (LOCAD-PTS), was operated aboard the International Space Station (ISS). LOCAD-PTS was launched to the ISS aboard Space Shuttle STS-116 on December 9, 2006, and has since been used by ISS crews to monitor endotoxin on cabin surfaces. Quantitative analysis was performed within 15 minutes, and sample return to Earth was not required. Endotoxin (a marker of Gram-negative bacteria) was distributed throughout the ISS, despite previous indications that mostbacteria on ISS surfaces were Gram-positive [corrected].Endotoxin was detected at 24 out of 42 surface areas tested and at every surface site where colony-forming units (cfu) were observed, even at levels of 4-120 bacterial cfu per 100 cm(2), which is below NASA in-flight requirements (<10,000 bacterial cfu per 100 cm(2)). Absent to low levels of endotoxin (<0.24 to 1.0 EU per 100 cm(2); defined in endotoxin units, or EU) were found on 31 surface areas, including on most panels in Node 1 and the US Lab. High to moderate levels (1.01 to 14.7 EU per 100 cm(2)) were found on 11 surface areas, including at exercise, hygiene, sleeping, and dining facilities. Endotoxin was absent from airlock surfaces, except the Extravehicular Hatch Handle (>3.78 EU per 100 cm(2)). Based upon data collected from the ISS so far, new culture-independent requirements (defined in EU) are suggested, which are verifiable in flight with LOCAD-PTS yet high enough to avoid false alarms. The suggested requirements are intended to supplement current ISS requirements (defined in cfu) and would serve a dual purpose of safeguarding crew health (internal spacecraft surfaces <20 EU per 100 cm(2)) and monitoring forward contamination during Constellation missions (surfaces periodically exposed to the external environment, including the airlock and space suits, <0.24 EU per 100 cm(2)).