▲ Arabidopsis thaliana germinated from the lunar soil ‘Legolis’
He was the first to successfully grow a plant by germinating seeds from the rubble soil brought from the moon.
This was evaluated as a result of paving the way for growing crops and obtaining oxygen on the moon and other planets beyond the moon.
Researchers at the University of Florida in the US published a study in Communications Biology that showed that seeds can be grown by germinating seeds from ‘regolith’, which is made of dust and soil that covers the rock layers of the moon. I did.
According to the University of Florida, a research team led by Dr. Ana-Lisa Paul, a professor of horticulture at the Institute for Food and Agriculture Sciences (FU/IFAS) at the University, rented 12 g of legolis from NASA and conducted plant cultivation experiments.
Legolis was collected by the Apollo 11, 12, and 17 astronauts, and the amount is only 3 to 4 teaspoons. I did.
About 1 g of legolis was put in this ‘pot,’ moistened with the culture medium, and Arabidopsis seeds were planted.
Arabidopsis thaliana is the most widely used species in plant experiments because the genetic code has been completely analyzed.
The research team compared the growth process by planting Arabidopsis thaliana in soil in extreme environments and in ‘JSC-1A’, an earth material that mimics Mars and Moon soils.
The researchers weren’t sure about their germination potential, but almost all of the seeds did.
This was interpreted as showing that the lunar soil did not interfere with the hormones and signals involved in plant germination.
However, as time passed, the growth of Arabidopsis thaliana germinated in lunar soil was slower than that of the control group, and the differences between individuals were also more pronounced.
This was taken as a physical signal that plants were struggling to adapt to the structural and chemical makeup of the lunar soil, which was also confirmed by gene expression patterns.
“At the genetic level, Arabidopsis thaliana used tools typically used to cope with factors such as salinity, metals and oxidative stress,” said Professor Paul. “, he explained.
The team plans to use gene expression data to improve the stress response of plants, especially crops, to a level where they can grow on lunar soils with minimal influence.
The researchers suggest that the response of plants may differ depending on where the lunar soil is harvested.
For example, plants grown in soils harvested from what lunar geologists call mature lunar soils had more stress signals, and plants grown in non-mature soils were relatively good.
It is believed that older soils have been exposed to greater solar wind, resulting in changes in composition.
Dr. Steven Ellardo, assistant professor of geology, co-author of the paper, said growing plants in lunar soil could change the soil itself. How would the minerals in very dry lunar soil react when water and nutrients are supplied to plant and grow plants? He said that additional research is needed on whether watering makes the mineral more plant-friendly.
(Photo = UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones, Yonhap News)