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GRAVI 2
10/18/2012 by Carina Helle Berg
Gravi2 was part of a series of plant biology experiments that aimed to provide a better understanding of cellular mechanisms invoked at a certain threshold acceleration or gravity vector. This knowledge is useful for developing plant systems for use in space.
 
The Gravi1 experiment was executed in the European Modular Cultivation System (EMCS) in January 2007 with the objective to investigate the threshold acceleration for gravisensing. This objective was successfully achieved by video observation of lentil (Lens Culinaris) seedling roots when being subjected to different levels of gravistimulation in EMCS.
 
Gravi2 aimed at further investigations of lentil seedling roots, more specifically amyloplast displacement and calcium signaling in root gravisensing. The lentil seedlings were subjected to different levels of centrifugal force (gravistimulation) on the EMCS rotors for 48 hours, and thereafter fixated chemically in order to preserve the samples and their chemical composition. The fixated samples allowed the scientist teams to analyze different aspects of cellular gravitropism mechanisms such as:
- Amyloplast displacement and distribution
- Calcium-binding and calcium-targeted proteins localization
- Free calcium distribution in statocytes
- Expression of calcium-regulated genes in root cap
 
These analyses required that the lentil seedlings were preserved and brought back to earth within certain time and temperature constraints.
 
An understanding of microgravity-induced molecular alterations will lead to identifying or developing plant systems that are able to compensate for the observed negative impact on plant growth in space and, thus, can be considered for use in life support systems or as food source for long duration missions.
 
Gravi 1 cultivation chambers were used for Gravi2.
 
Facts
Experiment name: Gravi-2
Facility: EMCS
Test subject: Lens Culinaris
Experiment duration: 2 runs x 30 hours
Growth substrate: Felt
Water source: Manual hydration via syringe
Principle Investigator: Valerie Legue
Payload Developer: EADS Astrium
Launch vehicle: SpX-3
Performance: May 2014
 

Point of contact:
Dr. Valérie Legué, Université Henri Poincaré, Valerie.Legue@scbiol.uhp-nancy.fr


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