Ground-based studies of tropisms in hardware developed for the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS)
Correll, Melanie J., et al. (2005). "Ground-based studies of tropisms in hardware developed for the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS)." Advances in Space Research 36 7: 1203-1210
Phototropism and gravitropism play key roles in the oriented growth of roots in flowering plants. In blue or white light, roots exhibit negative phototropism, but red light induces positive phototropism in Arabidopsis roots. The blue-light response is controlled by the phototropins while the red-light response is mediated by the phytochrome family of photoreceptors. In order to better characterize root phototropism, we plan to perform experiments in microgravity so that this tropism can be more effectively studied without the interactions with the gravity response. Our experiments are to be performed on the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS), which provides an incubator, lighting system, and high resolution video that are on a centrifuge palette. These experiments will be performed at μg, 1g (control) and fractional g-levels. In order to ensure success of this mission on the International Space Station, we have been conducting ground-based studies on growth, phototropism, and gravitropism in experimental unique equipment (EUE) that was designed for our experiments with Arabidopsis seedlings. Currently, the EMCS and our EUE are scheduled for launch on space shuttle mission STS-121. This project should provide insight into how the blue- and red-light signaling systems interact with each other and with the gravisensing system.