Publication: Plant in space article is journal’s most highly accessed and mentioned

Published: January 15th, 2015

Category: All News, Featured News, Latest Publications

ICBR’s director, Robert Ferl, PhD, and his research collaborators have been recognized for publishing the most highly accessed paper in the history of the journal BMC Plant Biology. Their research was published in 2012 and has also been named the top-mentioned article in social media.

The study researched Arabidopsis plants’ root growth patterns, particularly waving and skewing of roots, in space and without the influence of gravity. Root growth patterns hold evolutionary significance as this is how plants avoid obstacles on earth to obtain nutrients and water to survive.

Results showed that gravity is not essential to root orientation nor the only factor influencing growth. During microgravity in space, plant roots reacted to the presence of light and waved and skewed in directions characteristic of their genotypes.

Ferl and University of Florida plant biologist Anna-Lisa Paul, PhD, lead a team of researchers focused on growing plants in space environments. Updates on their research, including current experiments launched on a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and conducted on the International Space Station (ISS), can be followed through the UF Space Plants blog and @UF_Space_Plants Twitter.

Original publication:

Paul, A. L., Amalfitano, C. E., & Ferl, R. J. (2012). Plant growth strategies are remodeled by spaceflight. BMC plant biology, 12(1), 232. 

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