Selection and hydroponic growth of bread wheat cultivars for bioregenerative life support systems

Page, Valérie; Feller, Urs (2013). Selection and hydroponic growth of bread wheat cultivars for bioregenerative life support systems. Advances in space research, 52(3), pp. 536-546. Oxford: Pergamon 10.1016/j.asr.2013.03.027

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As part of the ESA-funded MELiSSA program, the suitability, the growth and the development of four bread wheat cultivars were investigated in hydroponic culture with the aim to incorporate such a cultivation system in an Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS). Wheat plants can fulfill three major functions in space: (a) fixation of CO2 and production of O2, (b) production of grains for human nutrition and (c) production of cleaned water after condensation of the water vapor released from the plants by transpiration. Four spring wheat cultivars (Aletsch, Fiorina, Greina and CH Rubli) were grown hydroponically and compared with respect to growth and grain maturation properties. The height of the plants, the culture duration from germination to harvest, the quantity of water used, the number of fertile and non-fertile tillers as well as the quantity and quality of the grains harvested were considered. Mature grains could be harvested after around 160 days depending on the varieties. It became evident that the nutrient supply is crucial in this context and strongly affects leaf senescence and grain maturation. After a first experiment, the culture conditions were improved for the second experiment (stepwise decrease of EC after flowering, pH adjusted twice a week, less plants per m2) leading to a more favorable harvest (higher grain yield and harvest index). Considerably less green tillers without mature grains were present at harvest time in experiment 2 than in experiment 1. The harvest index for dry matter (including roots) ranged from 0.13 to 0.35 in experiment 1 and from 0.23 to 0.41 in experiment 2 with modified culture conditions. The thousand-grain weight for the four varieties ranged from 30.4 to 36.7 g in experiment 1 and from 33.2 to 39.1 g in experiment 2, while market samples were in the range of 39.4–46.9 g. Calcium levels in grains of the hydroponically grown wheat were similar to those from field-grown wheat, while potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and nickel levels tended to be higher in the grains of experimental plants. It remains a challenge for future experiments to further adapt the nutrient supply in order to improve senescence of vegetative plant parts, harvest index and the composition of bread wheat grains.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant nutrition [discontinued]
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR) > NCCR Climate
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Page, Valérie and Feller, Urs

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0273-1177

Publisher:

Pergamon

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

11 Feb 2014 14:45

Last Modified:

23 Jan 2017 12:10

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.asr.2013.03.027

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Bread wheat, Grain maturation, Harvest index, Nutrient economy, Tillers, Senescence

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.38663

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/38663

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