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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #416235

Research Project: Nutritional Role of Phytochemicals

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Constructing an environmental control module with autonomous CO2 and pressure control

item JOHNSON, AMAH - University Of Houston
item NAVARRO, BRIAN - University Of Houston
item NIAZ, MUSAB - University Of Houston
item PEREZ, ANDREW - University Of Houston
item Dzakovich, Michael

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/26/2024
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Intrinsically labeled foods are food products that contain nutrients and other molecules with masses that weigh more than what's normally found in nature. These foods are important for clinical studies where nutrients and other molecules can be tracked in the blood or other tissues since their weight differs from what is already there. However, intrinsic labeling is expensive and requires advanced engineering expertise. This engineering team created a component of a future device that will be used to generate intrinsically labeled plant foods and created a software foundation to control various devices related to CO2, pressure, and humidity. This device will enable both studying plant metabolism as well as human absorption and metabolism of nutrients.

Technical Abstract: Intrinsic 13-C labeling is vital for studying plant metabolism in the human body, offering insights into plant-based nutrition. Plants exposed to a carbon-13 (13-CO2) enriched environment will incorporate carbon-13 into their photosynthetic process, leading to a measurable and trackable change in the biochemical composition of the plant tissues. This report of a capstone project outlines the development of an autonomous hydroponic growth chamber designed to intrinsically label plant materials with 13-C. LabVIEW software enables adaptive regulation of humidity, CO2, pressure, and nutrients for sustained 13-C labeling from seed to harvest. Throughout the course of this project, we have been able to visit Dr. Dzakovich’s lab, making advancements towards the completion of our environmental control module. With this project, we have been able to provide the Dzakovich Lab with a fully functioning automated CO2, pressure, and humidity management system and the required hardware. Additionally, we have created a sealed environment to maintain such conditions. The autonomous hydroponic chamber holds promise for tracing the journey of 13C-labeled plant compounds within the human body, contributing to nutritional research, and advancing our understanding of the diet-health relationship. This interdisciplinary project bridges plant biology, nutrition, and engineering, showcasing the potential of intrinsic 13-C labeling in nutritional science. Continuous advancements in chamber design and technology underscore a commitment to optimal plant growth conditions and reliable 13-C labeling. Future work will focus on optimizing the ECM structure and decreasing automation latency, emphasizing innovation in enhancing nutritional science and plant-based dietary studies.