It is possible that from now on, astronauts on the International Space Station will be deprived of the authority to list. A new study shows that in weightless conditions, lettuce plants are more susceptible to infection by pathogenic bacteria, which poses a risk to the health of astronauts.
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Eating salad and green vegetables is good for your health, and everyone knows that. So what could be more natural than giving astronauts the opportunity to grow their own plants, in order to enhance their meals with a little fresh greenery?
However, a new study has revealed that this may not be a good idea after all, and that eating salad grown in space could be counterproductive from an astronauts' health standpoint.
Salads are more susceptible to infections
A team of scientists has already grown lettuce in conditions that mimic the weightlessness of the International Space Station. how ? By turning young plants in all directions. This situation disturbs the plant, which then no longer knows in which direction it will grow, as in space. Then the researchers presented bacteriabacteria In the plant's living environment. And there is a surprise! Plants found themselves more susceptible to infection, especially by SalmonellaSalmonella.
Upon closer inspection, it turns out that the tiny pores that allow the plant to breathe are more open in microgravity than in a normal growing environment. We usually call these micropores StomataStomata se fermentingfermenting When the plant is exposed to bacterial attack. During the microgravity simulation, just the opposite happened: the lettuce opened its stomata, allowing bacteria to enter.
Power in space: a thorny problem
This is a problem, because we know that the very confined environment of space is conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungi. Therefore, salad plants can easily become contaminated, thus making astronauts sick. It is taken very seriously, because no one wants to see a future mission fail because of a power card.
However, treating this problem does not seem so simple. Sterilizing seeds transported into space can help reduce risks, but it is not enough. So researchers are trying to find other solutions, in particular by selecting different types of lettuce that can behave differently in microgravity. These results have been published In the magazine Scientific reports.
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