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10/18/2012 by Carina Helle Berg
​The TROPI experiment included investigation of cellular mechanisms of phototropism in plants and determination of effects and influences of gravity on light perception in plants (Arabidopsis thaliana). The experiment was the first experiment to be conducted in the EMCS onboard the ISS. It was launched on ULF1.1 and was operated inside the EMCS late 2006.
The specific goals of the experiment included the following;

* To characterize the novel red-light-dependent positive phototropic system and the blue-light-dependent phototropic system in roots and hypocotyls in the absence of the complicating negative effects of gravity
* To investigate the role of specific photoreceptors in the phototropic response
* To optimize growth and developmental conditions for Arabidopsis thaliana in spaceflight hardware.

Tropi seed cassettesTropi.png
The Tropi hardware is developed by NASA Ames Research Centre. The experiment containers (EC) are filled with equipment to support experiments on small plant seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana grown for approximately 6-8 days. Each EC holds five individual seed cassettes, each with their own water reservoir and their own illumination source (blue, red and white LEDs). For the past EMCS experiments which have utilized this hardware the sample return to the scientists have included pictures of the growing seedlings on the spinning EMCS rotors as well as the returned seedlings which have been frozen immediately at -80˚C after experiment stop and returned to the scientist on ground in frozen condition.

Experiment name: Tropi
Facility: EMCS
Test subject: Arabidopsis thaliana
Experiment duration: 3 runs x 6 days
Growth substrate: Filter paper
Water source: Internal EUE water
Principle Investigator: John Z. Kiss
Payload Developer: NASA Ames Research Center
Launch vehicle: ULF1.1
Performance: Nov-Dec 2006

Related articles:
Millar K.D.L., P. Kumar, M.J. Correll, J.L. Mullen, R.P. Hangarter, R.E. Edelmann, J.Z. Kiss 2010. A novel phototropic response to red light is revealed in microgravity. New Phytologist 186:648-656.
Kiss J.Z., P. Kumar, K.D.L. Millar, R.E. Edelmann, M.J. Correll. 2009. Operations of a spaceflight experiment to investigate plant tropisms. Advances in Space Research 44: 879–886.

Kiss J.Z., P. Kumar, R.N. Bowman, M.K. Steele, M.T. Eodice, M.J. Correll, R.E. Edelmann. 2007. Biocompatibility studies in preparation for a spaceflight experiment on plant tropisms (TROPI). Advances in Space Research 39: 1154–1160.

Stimpson, A.J., R.S. Pereira, J.Z. Kiss, M.J. Correll. 2009. Extraction and labeling methods for microarrays using small amounts of plant tissue. Physiologia Plantarum 135: 229–236.

Point of contact:
Principal Investigator: Dr. John Z. Kiss,