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Plant Cell Physiol. 1997 Oct;38(10):1111-7.

Development of potato minitubers in microgravity.

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  • 1Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kiev.


Stem segments of aseptically grown potato (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Zarevo) were cultivated for 4 weeks under laboratory conditions and were then grown for 8 d on board the "Mir" orbital space station. Timing was such that minitubers initiated and developed during the 8 d on the "Mir". Under space flight and stationary conditions, spherical minitubers were formed with no statistically significant differences in either the frequency of tuber formation or tuber size. These observations are the first to document the formation of vegetative reproductive organs and of well developed amylogenic storage tissue during the microgravity conditions of orbital space flight. In these minitubers, a majority of the starch was stored in parenchyma, with numerous amyloplasts per cell. In space flight tissue, however, grain size of starch was decreased and lamellae within the amyloplasts was locally enlarged. Furthermore, mitochondria of these tissues were characterized by increased matrix density and well developed cristae.

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