Publication: Plant growth strategies are remodeled by spaceflight
Robert J. Ferl, Professor of Horticultural Sciences and ICBR Director, and colleagues within the UF Department of Horticultural Sciences and the Program in Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology, recently published their findings in the journal BMC Plant Biology:
In the paper, Rob Ferl and scientists Anna-Lisa Paul and Claire E. Amalfitano describe the similarities of root growth between those propagated in a microgravity environment while aboard the International Space Station and comparable Ground Control plants.
Skewing and waving, or the method in which roots grow away from the seed and around obstacles, thought to be gravity dependent, were found to occur in these spaceflight plants, and are thus gravity independent. This research is important to the future of space agriculture and the potential for plants to grow in different gravitational environments.
Although the findings show directional root growth is gravity independent, seedlings grown in microgravity are uniformly smaller than comparatively aged Ground Controls. Confocal microscopy was used to determine differences in the growth rate between control and post-flight plants. The ICBR Cellomics Division Flow Cytometry Core provided confocal microscopy services.
This research was supported by NASA grants NNX07AH270 and NNX09AL96G.