NanoRacks-Espoo Christian School-Fungus Mycelium Growth Research Comparison in Microgravity and on Earth (NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth ) - 12.06.17

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Mushrooms are the fruiting body of a fungus, and branch from a system called a mycelium, which is comparable to a plant's roots. Espoo Christian School of Finland is conducting NanoRacks-Espoo Christian School-Fungus Mycelium Growth Research Comparison in Microgravity and on Earth (NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth) to compare fungus mycelium grown in low humidity and high temperatures, which are opposite the ideal growing conditions. The goal is an improved understanding of how to grow fungi in microgravity to be used for food.
 
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Hanna Niemelä, M.A., B.A., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-20 S/N 1002

Principal Investigator(s)
Espoo Christian School , Espoo Christian School, Espoo, Finland

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Hanna Niemelä, M.A., B.A., Espoo Christian School, Espoo, Finland

Developer(s)
Espoo Christian School, Espoo, Finland
NanoRacks, LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2014 - September 2014

Expeditions Assigned
39/40

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • NanoRacks-Espoo Christian School-Fungus Mycelium Growth Research Comparison in Microgravity and on Earth (NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth) is the first of its kind on the International Space Station (ISS).
  • New scientific information is gained on the fungus growth in microgravity vs. gravity in unfavorable conditions for fungi, i.e., low humidity and high temperature.
  • A micro-pump transports water with spores of Polyporus brumalis to a hollow piece of textile hemp placed in the growth chamber.
  • The spores are expected to germinate in the hemp and start to grow mycelium around it covering the whole surface of the solid agar medium.
  • The form and rate of growth of the fungus is expected to differ from that on Earth.
  • NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth gives preliminary information on growing fungi in microgravity. The experiment is expected to lead to further investigation on growing fungi for human consumption in space.

Description
NanoRacks-Espoo Christian School-Fungus Mycelium Growth Research Comparison in Microgravity and on Earth (NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth) examines how mycelium of Polyporus brumalis grows in a challenging environment of high temperature and low humidity in microgravity compared to similar growing conditions on earth. The objective is to find out ways to grow fungi for human consumption in space.

A miniature peristaltic pump (RP-Q1 from Tagasago Electric Japan) is used to deliver water to a growth chamber. The dimensions of the pump are approximately 1 cm by 1 cm by 3 cm. The growth chamber is a modified laboratory bottle made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic and its dimensions are approximately 3.8 cm by 3.8 cm by 4.5 cm. Water is sterilized tap water and the spores of Polyporus brumalis are collected from wild fruiting bodies. Programming and electronic interface circuitry manages the pump, timing duration, and photo frequency.

Temperature needs to be around 25°C. Continuous power is needed a minimum of two days after the first 28 duration hours of intermittent power. Thereafter power can be momentarily interrupted without significant disruption to the experiment. The experiment is designed to function for the duration of the flight onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

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Applications

Space Applications
Future long-duration space travelers and colonists on other planets may harvest mushrooms, which are high in protein and do not always require sunlight to grow. But fungal forms and growth rates are expected to be different in microgravity. Comparing the difference between Earth-grown and space-grown fungi provides insight into how fungi behave in microgravity, with possible implications for future fungiculture. 

Earth Applications
Fungi, including mushrooms used for food, typically grow in moist, cool and dark conditions. Understanding how well fungi can grow in hot, dry environments improves methods for growing mushrooms in unfavorable conditions, including in regions experiencing warmer temperatures due to climate change. NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth is designed, built and tested by ten junior-high school students from Finland, stimulating interest and providing experience in science, technology, engineering and math.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols
NanoRacks Module-20 is completely autonomous and only requires installation and removal. During actual operation, photographic and environmental data is sent to the investigators to track the process of the experiment. The payload chamber needs to be returned intact to researchers so its contents can be examined under a microscope.
Crew interaction with Module -20 is limited to transferring the NanoRacks locker insert from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installation and activation of the NanoRacks Frames into the EXPRESS Rack Locker, and data retrieval (as needed) during the mission.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
EYKK

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Imagery

image Espoo Christian ISS team sending the experiment, NanoRacks-Espoo Christian School-Fungus Mycelium Growth Research Comparison in Microgravity and on Earth (NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth) to its long journey. From left: Riikka, Max, Joosua, Pekka, Inessa, Emma, Enni, and Emili. Image courtesy of Hanna Niemelä.
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image ISS design manager Joosua assembling the flight unit for NanoRacks-Espoo Christian School-Fungus Mycelium Growth Research Comparison in Microgravity and on Earth (NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth). Image courtesy of Hanna Niemelä.
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image NanoRacks-Espoo Christian School-Fungus Mycelium Growth Research Comparison in Microgravity and on Earth (NanoRacks-ECS-Fungus Growth) Polyporus brumalis, the original Space Fungus. Image courtesy of Hanna  Niemelä.
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