Comparative effectiveness of a clinostat and a slow-turning lateral vessel at mimicking the ultrastructural effects of microgravity in plant cells

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Abstract

The object of this research was to determine how effectively the actions of a clinostat and a fluid-filled, slow-turning lateral vessel (STLV) mimic the ultrastructural effects of microgravity in plant cells. We accomplished this by qualitatively and quantitatively comparing the ultrastructures of cells grown on clinostats and in an STLV with those of cells grown at 1 g and in microgravity aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. Columella cells of Brassica perviridis seedlings grown in microgravity and in an STLV have similar structures. Both contain significantly more lipid bodies, less starch, and fewer dictyosomes than columella cells of seedlings grown at 1 g. Cells of seedlings grown on clinostats have significantly different ultrastructures from those grown in microgravity or in an STLV, indicating that clinostats do not mimic microgravity at the ultrastructural level. The similar structures of columella cells of seedlings grown in an STLV and in microgravity suggest that an STLV effectively mimics microgravity at the ultrastructural level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-549
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Botany
Volume66
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1990
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Research Incentive Program of Wright State University. I thank Bill Bowie of Krug International for providing me with STLV-grown seedlings, Eddie McClelen for printing the electron micrographs, and Franklin Chang-Diaz for performing our experiment while on orbit. I dedicate this paper to the memory of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Keywords

  • Brassica perviridis cv. Tendergreen
  • Clinostat
  • Microgravity
  • Morphometry
  • Mustard spinach

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