Recently in the Plant Biology Category


As NASA plans long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, a key factor is figuring out how to feed crews during their weeks, months, and even years in space.

Oxygenic photosynthesis is the most important biochemical process in Earth biosphere and likely very common on other habitable terrestrial planets, given the general availability of its input chemical ingredients and of light as source of energy.

An evolutionary mystery that had eluded molecular biologists for decades may never have been solved if it weren't for the COVID-19 pandemic.

When geobiology graduate student Katie Maloney trekked into the mountains of Canada's remote Yukon territory, she was hoping to find microscopic fossils of early life. Even with detailed field plans, the odds of finding just the right rocks were low. Far from leaving empty-handed, though, she hiked back out with some of the most significant fossils for the time period.

Researchers find that the earliest bacteria had the tools to perform a crucial step in photosynthesis, changing how we think life evolved on Earth.

Extra Dwarf Pak Choi plants are pictured growing inside the Veggie space botany research facility aboard the International Space Station. The Veg-03 investigation is exploring how to grow food in space and assesses the impact of space gardening on crew morale and mood.

An early challenge turned into a surprise success on the International Space Station that could be a boon for the future of space crop production.

On Nov. 30, 2020, NASA astronaut Kate Rubins harvested radish plants growing in the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) aboard the International Space Station. She meticulously collected and wrapped in foil each of the 20 radish plants, placing them in cold storage for the return trip to Earth in 2021 on SpaceX's 22nd Commercial Resupply Services mission.

To Boldly Go, We Must Boldly Grow

Past as Prologue - When asked what the future holds for humans in space, it's tempting to recall the plots of favorite science-fiction films. Often, they involve astronauts, rockets, and intergalactic conflict--rarely do they explore the essential "behind-the-scenes" science that enables space exploration.

Radish plants are pictured growing inside the Columbus laboratory module's Plant Habitat-02. NASA Astronaut Kate Rubins harvested leaves from the plants for the space botany experiment that is exploring the capability for food production in microgravity.