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Cucumbers in Space Provide Insights on Root Growth

Scientists have untangled the competing influences of water and gravity on plant roots—by growing cucumbers during spaceflight.

Thursday, July 20, 2017 9:49 am EDT
"We will be able to utilize roots’ ability to sense moisture gradients for controlling root growth orientation and efficiently growing plants in future space farms"

Scientists have untangled the competing influences of water and gravity on plant roots—by growing cucumbers during spaceflight.

Plant roots grow to find water, according to a process known as hydrotropism. Roots are also influenced by gravity and tend to grow downwards, called gravitropism. To find out whether gravity or water had the greater influence on root growth, investigators grew cucumber plants in the microgravity environment on board the International Space Station. In their experiments, water (or hydrotropism) had more influence in controlling root growth.

“We will be able to utilize roots’ ability to sense moisture gradients for controlling root growth orientation and efficiently growing plants in future space farms,” said Dr. Hideyuki Takahashi, senior author of the New Phytologist study.

Additional Information

Link to Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.14689/full

About Journal

New Phytologist is an international electronic journal published 16 times a year, and is owned by a non-profit-making charitable trust dedicated to the promotion of plant science.  Our regular submissions address fundamental questions across the spectrum of plant science. Short Letters and other submissions to the Forum section, as well as Research reviews, Rapid reports and both Modelling/Theory and Methods papers, are also encouraged.

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Contact:

Penny Smith
+44 (0)1243 770448
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com

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