Development of a Porous Tube Based Plant Growth Apparatus 2002-01-2389
The Porous Tube Insert Module (PTIM) is a plant growth apparatus utilizing a porous tube design. The PTIM is under development by the Bionetics Corporation and has been designed as an insert to the Plant Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus (PGBA: Developed by Bioserve Space Technologies). The Water Offset Nutrient Delivery ExpeRiment (WONDER) will perform a side by side evaluation of the PTIM's Porous Tube Nutrient Delivery System (PTNDS) and a Substrate Nutrient Delivery System (SNDS). The PGBA will serve as the environmental chamber and environmental control system for the PTIM. The PGBA will also host the WONDER sequencer software within its control computer. The PTIM integrates six porous tubes wrapped with seed mats. In the SNDS, the tubes and mats are embedded within a substrate material while in the PTNDS, they are exposed to the chamber environment. The PTIM hydraulic equipment includes porous tubes fed by computer controlled miniature pumps and valves. The wetness levels of the growth medium are monitored by an array of moisture sensors. These sensors provide feedback to the control system, allowing precise regulation of moisture levels around each tube. The PTIM also contains a series of miniature color cameras that are used to image the plant specimens throughout the experiment.