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Biotechnological development of plants for space agriculture
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: October 23, 2021 12:20AM

The ideal plant for cultivation in space would provide as many nutrients
from as few inputs as possible. Here, we discuss how biotechnology could
be used to produce a potato cultivar suitable for humans in space.

If humankind is ever to undertake long-term space missions and
colonization, establishing an efficient space farming system would be
essential for human survival in space. However, existing crops are not
sufficiently cost effective and productive for use on space farms.
Hence, we propose a Whole-Body Edible and Elite Plant (WBEEP) strategy
for space crop improvement. Relying on plant biotechnology, the WBEEP
strategy aims to develop crops with more edible parts, richer nutrient
content, higher yields, and higher mineral nutrient use efficiencies for
space farms.

Potato (/Solanum tuberosum/L.) is believed to be one of the top
contenders for space agriculture due to the following advantages:

1 high harvest index and tuber yield and carbohydrate-rich tubers that
can provide a large amount of energy for humans;

2 simple horticultural and food processing requirements; and

3 high tolerance against stresses with the ability to develop normally
during spaceflight.

Importantly, potatoes can be asexually propagated through tubers and
sexually propagated through seeds. Asexual reproduction can ensure the
regeneration of food resources and stable nutritional value, while
sexual reproduction can guarantee a higher propagation coefficient and
lower storage and transportation costs^2
<[]; . However,
potatoes cannot be efficiently cultivated in space until inherent
defects related to their high solanine content, low yield and nutrient
accumulation, and low fertilizer use efficiency are overcome. Below, we
describe a WBEEP strategy for potato improvement that might create a
WBEEP-potato for space farming

Biotechnological development of plants for space agriculture | Nature
Communications []

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