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Testing Specialized Fertigation Blends for Agronomic Biofortification for Spaceflight ApplicationsThe current spaceflight diet is prepackaged and vitamins degrade over time. Plants grown in the Veggie and APH units on the ISS currently provide the astronauts with a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals, but some nutrients could be improved. Agronomic Biofortifcation of crops with fertilizers has been tested on Earth, with the successful addition of minerals and vitamin C to crops that have otherwise been deficient. We intend to test if we can replicate this in a controlled environment and expand it to nutrients that are not often present in abundance in plants. This will be done by adding fluid nutrient blends to the water supply of candidate crops for spaceflight applications. We hypothesize that fertilization of plants with nutrients that are of value to human health will have neutral to positive effect on plants, with desired nutrients present in greater abundance in treated plants than untreated plants. We intend to show this through germination percent and pace, yield of edible biomass, the growth rate, and overall development of the crop plant. For this experiment, radish microgreens were grown on mats in a controlled environment chamber in enriched CO2, with LED lighting similar to what is found in the ISS Veggie hardware. Watering was conducted once at planting with a specialized blend of ½ strength Hoagland’s hydroponic solution with additional vitamins. Preliminary results show no decrease in overall biomass production with plants grown using additional vitamin D, but additional nutrients will be tested. Future direction will be to perform nutritional analysis of plants. Test that resulting produce will be suitable for human consumption, including meeting or exceeding food safety guidelines and palatability.
Document ID
Document Type
Christina M Johnson (Universities Space Research Association Columbia, Maryland, United States)
Date Acquired
October 31, 2021
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
American Society for Gravitational and Space Research Meeting (ASGSR 2021) (Baltimore, MD)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Use by or on behalf of the US Gov. Permitted.
space crop production
spaceflight diet

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NameType ASGSR 2021-Edits-incorporated-CMJ.pdf STI