Changes in Plants Developed from Dry Seeds Irradiated by Simulated Galactic Cosmic Radiation
One of the major concerns for long-term exploration missions beyond the Earth's magnetosphere is radiation risk primarily from solar particle events (SPEs) and galactic cosmic rays (GCRs). With the goal of manned Mars exploration, the production of fresh food during long duration space missions may provide nutritional supplementation and benefit astronauts' behavioral health. However, the effects of space radiation on plants and plant propagules have not been sufficiently investigated and characterized. In this study, we evaluated the effect of simulated GCRs on dry seeds of mizuna mustard, 'Outredgeous' red romaine lettuce, and 'Red Robin' dwarf tomato. Seeds were exposed to various doses of simulated GCRs (0, 40, and 80 cGy), either acutely or at a low dose rate (LDR), using the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) facility at Brookhaven National Lab (BNL). Control and irradiated seeds were planted and maintained under space-vehicle relevant controlled environment conditions. Plant/fruit morphometrics and edible fresh mass were measured. In addition, nutrient analyses were performed for both mizuna and ripe tomatoe fruit. Seedlings from irradiated seeds (both 40 cGy and 80 cGy) showed significant changes in cotyledon development, but not in root length or morphology. Interestingly, significant changes in vitamin content were found in mizuna grown from 80 cGy (LDR) irradiated seeds. In addition, 80 cGy (LDR) simulated GCRs significantly affected lettuce and tomato seed quality, delayed tomato fruiting, and reduced the total yield of tomato. Generally, compared to 80 cGy, 40 cGy (LDR) of simulated GCRs displayed some impacts to the seeds and seedlings, but to a much lesser degree.
43rd COSPAR Scientific Assembly. Held 28 January - 4 February
- Pub Date:
- January 2021