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Planta. 2015 Jun;241(6):1509-18. doi: 10.1007/s00425-015-2280-x. Epub 2015 Mar 21.

Lunar gravity affects leaf movement of Arabidopsis thaliana in the International Space Station.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Am Mühlenberg1, 14476, Potsdam, Germany,


Cyclic leaf ascent and descent occur in synchrony and phase congruence with the lunisolar tidal force under a broad range of conditions. Digitized records of the vertical leaf movements of Arabidopsis thaliana were collected under space flight conditions in the International Space Station (ISS). Oscillations of leaf movements with periods of 45 and 90 min were found under light-adapted conditions, whereas in darkness, the periods were 45, 90, and 135 min. To demonstrate the close relationship between these oscillations and cyclical variations of the lunisolar gravitational force, we estimated the oscillations of the in-orbit lunisolar tide as they apply to the ISS, with the aid of the Etide software application. In general, in-orbit lunisolar gravitational profiles exhibited a periodicity of 45 min. Alignment of these in-orbit oscillations with the oscillations of Arabidopsis leaf movement revealed high degrees of synchrony and a congruence of phase. These data corroborate previous results which suggested a correlative relationship and a possible causal link between leaf movement rhythms obtained on ground and the rhythmic variation of the lunisolar tidal force.

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