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Lettuce Grown On The ISS Is As Safe To Eat As Earth-Grown Leafy Greens

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Astronauts living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have actually effectively grown an edible, safe-to-eat crop of romaine lettuce in what might lead the way for providing fresh food for future long-distance expedition objectives through area.

Although the salad was grown under various ecological conditions than plants experience in the world — such as lower gravity and more extreme radiation — space-grown lettuce crops were discovered to be safe to consume and a minimum of as healthy as Earth-grown crops, revealed scientists in the March concern of Frontiers in Plant Science . Effective growing of fruit and vegetables in area not just breaks away from the dullness of the packaged and processed food that presently comprises astronaut diet plans — believe dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, peanut chicken, butter, and beef, all freeze-dried, heated and decontaminated to last — however it might be helpful for future long-lasting expedition objectives that cover country miles.

” The capability to grow food in a sustainable system that is safe for team usage will end up being vital as NASA approaches longer objectives. Salad-type, leafy greens can be grown and taken in fresh with couple of resources,” stated research study co-author Dr Christina Khodadad in a declaration .

Astronauts aboard the ISS teamed up with Earth-bound scientists at the Kennedy Space Center in between 2014 and 2016 to check the ability of growing fruit and vegetables in area. Lettuce was grown from decontaminated seeds positioned within the Vegetable Production System, nicknamed Veggie . This self-contained development chamber was produced by NASA to grow crops in area and is geared up with LED lighting, a watering system, and a system to keep track of ecological conditions like temperature level, co2, and humidity. This information was sent out to researchers in the world who then imitated conditions within Veggie to work as a control for the experiment. In both places, the lettuce was grown undisturbed for a duration of 33 to 56 days.

Astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Scott Kelly taste the lettuce grown on board the ISS in August 2014. NASA

Taste tests by the astronauts showed that the lettuce is not just effectively grown in area, however is similarly as edible as Earth-grown salad. Lettuce that wasn’ t consumed by ISS astronauts was deep-frozen for transport back to Earth.

Chemical and biological analyses revealed that lettuce grown in area is comparable in structure to plants grown in the world, although some trials had plant tissue that was richer in potassium, salt, phosphorus, Sulphur, and zinc. Some lettuce likewise had phenolics, which are particles shown to have antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory attributes while both revealed comparable levels of anti-oxidants. Scientists likewise utilized DNA sequencing to recognize 15 microbial genera on the leaves and 20 in the roots — comparable numbers on both the lettuce grown in area and Earth.

” The International Space Station is acting as a testbed for future long-duration objectives, and these kinds of crop development tests are assisting to broaden the suite of prospects that can be efficiently grown in microgravity. Future tests will study other types of leafy crops as well as little fruits like pepper and tomatoes, to assist supply extra fresh fruit and vegetables for the astronaut diet plan,” concludes co-author Dr Gioia Massa , task researcher at Kennedy Space.

Lettuce might not have much dietary worth, however in addition to comprehending appropriate conditions growing food in area, the authors include that recognizing which kinds of vegetables and fruit would be the most advantageous and effective to supplement astronauts ’ diet plans will show important for future objectives.

Astronaut Steve Swanson collects a few of the crops in June 20144. NASA

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