Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #439048

Research Project: Technologies for Fruit Production and Plant Propagation that are Compatible with Spaceflight Conditions

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Project Number: 8080-21000-029-21-M
Project Type: Memorandum of Understanding

Start Date: Oct 1, 2020
End Date: Jul 31, 2021

Objective:
The objectives of this project are to: 1) Optimize transgenic early flowering plum material and growing conditions that minimize space and resource requirements, while reducing harvest time and optimizing yields, and 2) Test TC09 growth promoting fungus and study the plant microbial interactions for controlled environment grown crops and the use of bio-stimulants to increase plant growth and yield.

Approach:
The work will focus on previously developed early flowering plums (FT1 genetically transformed lines) that have no dormancy and can continually produce fruit. Plum fruit provide nutrients low in the current packaged space foods (e.g., K, Mg, and Vit. K), and compounds (likely phenolics) that counter the loss of bone mass. The goals of the proposed research will be optimized plum material and growing conditions that minimize space and resource requirements, while reducing harvest time and optimizing yields. A second line of research will focus on an ARS identified TC09 fungus for promoting plant growth in atmospherically closed environments. The TC09 testing will enable dramatic improvements in crop yields in controlled environments and further our understanding of the plant microbial interactions. As part of this effort, plans for future space flight testing will be developed. The research will be conducted in a working biotechnology laboratory located in the Land Pavilion at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), a theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. USDA ARS in coordination with Disney Worldwide Services, Inc. through a cooperative agreement conduct research at the biotechnology laboratory with tissue culture, plant propagation and genetic transformation of crops. The Land Pavilion sits on the western side of "Future World" at EPCOT. In addition to being an entertainment venue, the biotechnology laboratory is also a demonstration, production, and research facility for areas such as experimental horticulture techniques in hydroponics, irrigation methods and integrated pest management, and is on view to the public through the EPCOT “Living with the Land” boat ride/show.