Growth and photosynthetic responses of wheat plants grown in space

Academic Article


  • Growth and photosynthesis of wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv Super Dwarf) plants grown onboard the space shuttle Discovery for 10 d were examined. Compared to ground control plants, the shoot fresh weight of space-grown seedlings decreased by 25%. Postflight measurements of the O2 evolution/photosynthetic photon flux density response curves of leaf samples revealed that the CO2-saturated photosynthetic rate at saturating light intensities in space-grown plants declined 25% relative to the rate in ground control plants. The relative quantum yield of CO2-saturated photosynthetic O2 evolution measured at limiting light intensities was not significantly affected. In space-grown plants, the light compensation point of the leaves increased by 33%, which likely was due to an increase (27%) in leaf dark-respiration rates. Related experiments with thylakoids isolated from space-grown plants showed that the light-saturated photosynthetic electron transport rate from H2O through photosystems II and I was reduced by 28%. These results demonstrate that photosynthetic functions are affected by the microgravity environment.
  • Published In

  • Plant Physiology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tripathy BC; Brown CS; Levine HG; Krikorian AD
  • Start Page

  • 801
  • End Page

  • 806
  • Volume

  • 110
  • Issue

  • 3