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Oxygen requirement of germinating flax seedsPlant experiments in earth orbit are typically prepared on the ground and germinated in orbit to study gravity effects on the developing seedlings. Germination requires the breakdown of storage compounds, and this metabolism depends upon respiration, making oxygen one of the limiting factors in seed germination. In microgravity lack of run-off of excess water requires careful testing of water dispensation and oxygen availability. In preparation for a shuttle experiment (MICRO on STS-107) we studied germination and growth of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) seedlings in the developed hardware (Magnetic Field Chamber, MFC). We tested between four to 32 seeds per chamber (air volume=14 mL) and after 36 h measured the root length. At 90 microliters O2 per seed (32 seeds/chamber), the germination decreased from 94 to 69%, and the root length was reduced by 20%, compared to 8 seeds per chamber. Based on the percent germination and root length obtained in controlled gas mixtures between 3.6 and 21.6% O2 we determined the lower limit of reliable germination to be 10 vol. % O2 at atmospheric pressure. Although the oxygen available in the MFC's can support the intended number of seeds, the data show that seed storage and microgravity-related limitations may reduce germination. c2003 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of COSPAR.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Kuznetsov, Oleg A.
(University of Louisiana at Lafayette LA 70504-2451, United States)
Hasenstein, K. H.
Hasentein, K. H.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: Advances in space research : the official journal of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR)
Volume: 31
Issue: 10
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Plant Biology
Non-NASA Center
NASA Program Fundamental Space Biology

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