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Space Pomology: Dwarf Plums for Fresh Food ProductionRecently, USDA ARS researchers genetically modified plums for rapid breeding work and noticed the plants could flower and develop fruit rapidly on relatively small plants. We have tested several of these genetically modified (GM) plums in plant chambers to assess their potential as a space crop. We have been able to clone these genetic lines using cuttings that are rooted using growth regulating compounds. Results showed that the GM plums indeed flower and fruit on small plants in controlled environments similar to what might be used in space, but they require cross-pollination with pollen from a standard plum. Analysis of stomatal conductance and leaf transpiration showed that water use went up in the light period, as expected, and but that GM types typically showed higher conductance than a standard plum. Analysis of tissue showed that fruit could be a good source of potassium and phenolic compounds, which could be beneficial as a bone loss countermeasure (Smith et al., 2014). These findings are all promising for using dwarf GM plums as a supplemental food for space, but further horticultural testing is needed before they are ready.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Kennedy Space Center
Document Type
Spencer, LaShelle
(Craig Technologies Cape Canaveral, FL, United States)
Graham, Thomas
(NPP Fellow Cocoa Beach, FL, United States)
Stutte, Gary
(Vencore Services and Solutions, Inc. Kennedy Space Center, FL, United States)
Massa, Gioia
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
Mickens, Matthew
(NPP Fellow Kennedy Space Center, FL, United States)
Wheeler, Raymond
(NASA Kennedy Space Center Cocoa Beach, FL United States)
Date Acquired
February 3, 2017
Publication Date
January 23, 2017
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Life Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 2017 NASA Human Research Program Investigators'' Workshop (HRP IWS 2017) Annual Meeting
Location: Galveston, TX
Country: United States
Start Date: January 23, 2017
End Date: January 26, 2017
Sponsors: NASA Johnson Space Center, National Space Biomedical Research Inst. (NSBRI)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 516724.01.05.10
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Life Support
Food Production
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