NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Plant Inoculum Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Plant Inoculum) - 05.31.17

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

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
From common bacteria to certain species of fungi, several pathogens are more virulent in space, for reasons scientists are still trying to understand. Previous research demonstrated that plant cell walls are thinner in microgravity, allowing pathogens to infect germinating plants and potentially harm future space-based food supplies. The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Plant Inoculum Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Plant Inoculum) studies the effectiveness of a fungicide used to prevent a pathogen from infecting a soybean plant during germination.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by James Nadir, B.S. EE, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom: NanoRacks Module-18 S/N 1003

Principal Investigator(s)
Valley Christian High School , Valley Christian High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
James Nadir, B.S. EE, Valley Christian Junior High School, San Jose, CA, United States

Developer(s)
Valley Christian High School , San Jose , CA, United States
NanoRacks LLC, Webster, TX, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
National Laboratory Education (NLE)

Research Benefits
Earth Benefits, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - March 2016

Expeditions Assigned
43/44,45/46

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Plant Inoculum Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Plant Inoculum) compares the effectiveness of a fungicide to prevent a pathogen from infecting a soybean plant during germination. The experiment is a follow on to the experiment performed by Dr. Jan Leach et al. which discovered that pathogens are more viral in microgravity due to thinner cell walls.
  • The experiment has two control groups, one with the seeds treated with a fungicide and the other group with untreated seeds. The treated seeds are colored green with a dye and the untreated seeds are colored red also with a dye.
  • The beans and fungus are dormant until activated on the International Space Station (ISS) by pumping distilled water into the growth chambers. In both groups, the fungal colony resides on autoclaved rice, which is placed in contact with the soybean seeds.
  • After the beans and fungus are hydrated, photos are taken at regular intervals recording the root growth of the plant.
     

Description
The purpose for the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Plant Inoculum Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Plant Inoculum) is to test the effectiveness of a fungicide (Penflufen) to prevent a pathogen (Rhizoctonia) from infecting a soybean during germination. The experiment consists of two control groups one with a fungicide and the other without. They are maintained in two separate growth chambers. Root growth of both groups is monitored and recorded and then compared.

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Applications

Space Applications
Some bacteria, viruses and fungi are more virulent in microgravity and organisms’ immune systems are weaker, which poses a challenge to the health of crew members and plants used for food. Previous research on the International Space Station demonstrated that plant cell walls are thinner in microgravity, allowing pathogens an easier pathway to infect cells. This investigation studies a fungicide to determine whether it prevents a fungal infection in soybean plants.

Earth Applications
Fungicides are important agricultural tools, used to kill or prevent the growth of fungal spores that can damage crops. Understanding whether they work in microgravity could help researchers design more effective fungicides. In addition, this investigation is a unique educational opportunity for high school students, who designed the experiments.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

Data collection within the experiment is automated; downlink is done via scheduled STELLA/NanoRacks command window intervals for the NanoRacks Platform. Payload is ambient and soft-stowed, but late loaded (approximately L-72 hr) and an early return.

Crew interaction is limited to transferring the NanoRacks Module from the launch vehicle to the ISS, installing the Module into a NanoRacks Platform Frame, activating the NanoRacks Platform, data retrieval (as needed) during the mission, and destowing and returning the Module.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
NanoRacks

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Imagery

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The NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Plant Inoculum Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Plant Inoculum) investigation team from San Jose, CA.  Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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Assembling the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Plant Inoculum Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Plant Inoculum) printed circuit board.  Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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Trouble shooting the NanoRacks-Valley Christian High School-Plant Inoculum Experiment (NanoRacks-VCHS-Plant Inoculum) development system control board.  Image courtesy of Valley Christian High School.

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