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Strategies for "minimal growth maintenance" of cell cultures: a perspective on management for extended duration experimentation in the microgravity environment of a Space stationHow cells manage without gravity and how they change in the absence of gravity are basic questions that only prolonged life on a Space station will enable us to answer. We know from investigations carried out on various kinds of Space vehicles and stations that profound physiological effects can and often to occur. We need to know more of the basic biochemistry and biophysics both of cells and of whole organisms in conditions of reduced gravity. The unique environment of Space affords plant scientists an unusual opportunity to carry out experiments in microgravity, but some major challenges must be faced before this can be done with confidence. Various laboratory activities that are routine on Earth take on special significance and offer problems that need imaginative resolution before even a relatively simple experiment can be reliably executed on a Space station. For example, scientists might wish to investigate whether adaptive or other changes that have occurred in the environment of Space are retained after return to Earth-normal conditions. Investigators seeking to carry out experiments in the low-gravity environment of Space using cultured cells will need to solve the problem of keeping cultures quiescent for protracted periods before an experiment is initiated, after periodic sampling is carried out, and after the experiment is completed. This review gives an evaluation of a range of strategies that can enable one to manipulate cell physiology and curtail growth dramatically toward this end. These strategies include cryopreservation, chilling, reduced oxygen, gel entrapment strategies, osmotic adjustment, nutrient starvation, pH manipulation, and the use of mitotic inhibitors and growth-retarding chemicals. Cells not only need to be rendered quiescent for protracted periods but they also must be recoverable and further grown if it is so desired. Elaboration of satisfactory procedures for management of cells and tissues at "near zero or minimal growth" will have great value and practical consequences for experimentation on Earth as well as in Space. All of the parameters and conditions and procedural details needed to meet all the specific objectives will be the basis of the design and fabrication of cell culture units for use in the Space environment. It is expected that this will be an evolutionary process.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Krikorian, A. D. (State University of New York at Stony Brook NY 11794-5215, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: The Botanical review; interpreting botanical progress
Volume: 62
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0006-8101
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
STS-61A Shuttle Project
short duration
Review, Academic
NASA Discipline Number 40-50
Non-NASA Center
NASA Discipline Plant Biology
Flight Experiment
NASA Program Space Biology