Ground control to major Tom, put your strigolactone on

Major Tom


Soil for space-crops, obtained from the moon or nearby planets, will reduce the cost of transporting bulk growing material from earth to the international space station. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal symbionts might improve crop production in nutrient-poor extraterrestrial substrates. However, initiation of the plant-fungi symbiosis, via strigolactone (SL) signaling, is positively regulated by another signaling pathway (auxin) sensitive to the physical influence of microgravity. Mycorrhization of solanaceous plants were studied under stimulated microgravity (s0-g) produced by a 3-D random positioning machine. Under s0-g and low nutrients, P uptake and AM fungal (Rhizophagus irregularis) development were negatively impacted. However, in mutant plants with high SL production plant or when a SL adjuvant was added plants were still able to grow in s0-g, low nutrient conditions.



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