Optimization of moisture content for wheat seedling germination in a cellulose acetate medium for a space flight experiment

Academic Article


  • The Porous Tube Plant Nutrient Delivery System (PTPNDS), a hydrophilic, microporous ceramic tube hydroponic system designed for microgravity, will be tested in a middeck locker of the Space Shuttle. The fiight experiment will focus on hardware operation and assess its ability to support seed germination and early seedling growth in microgravity. The water controlling system of the PTPNDS hardware has been successfully tested during the parabolic flight of the KC-135. One challenge to the development of the space flight experiment was to devise a method of holding seeds to the cylindrical porous tube. The seed-holder must provide water and air to the seed, absorb water from the porous tube, withstand sterilization, provide a clear path for shoots and roots to emerge, and be composed of flight qualified materials. In preparation for the flight experiment, a wheat seed-holder has been designed that utilizes a cellulose acetate plug to facilitate imbibition and to hold the wheat seeds in contact with the porous tube in the correct orientation during the vibration of launch and the microgravity environment of orbit. Germination and growth studies with wheat at a range of temperatures showed that optimal moisture was 78% (by weight) in the cellulose acetate seed holders. These and other design considerations are discussed. © 1995, All rights reserved.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Johnson CF; Dreschel TW; Brown CS; Wheeler RM
  • Start Page

  • 239
  • End Page

  • 242
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 4-5