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Technical Paper

Growth of Super-Dwarf Wheat on the Russian Space Station MIR

During 1995, we tested instruments and attempted a seed-to-seed experiment with Super-Dwarf wheat in the Russian Space Station Mir. Utah instrumentation included four IR gas analyzers (CO2 and H2O vapor, calculate photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration) and sensors for air and leaf (IR) temperatures, O2, pressure, and substrate moisture (16 probes). Shortly after planting on August 14, three of six fluorescent lamp sets failed; another failed later. Plastic bags, necessary to measure gas exchange, were removed. Hence, gases were measured only in the cabin atmosphere. Other failures led to manual watering, control of lights, and data transmission. The 57 plants were sampled five times plus final harvest at 90 d. Samples and some equipment (including hard drives) were returned to earth on STS-74 (Nov. 20). Plants were disoriented and completely vegetative. Maintaining substrate moisture was challenging, but the moisture probes functioned well.
Technical Paper

Reproductive Ontogeny of Wheat Grown on the Mir Space Station

The reproductive ontogeny of ‘Super-Dwarf’ wheat grown on the space station Mir is chronicled from the vegetative phase through flower' development. Changes in the apical meristem associated with transition from the vegetative plhase to floral initiation and development of the reproductive spike were all typical of ‘Super Dwarf’ wheat up to the point of anthesis. Filament elongation, which characteristically occurs just prior to anthesis (during floral development stage 4) and moves the anthers through the stigmatic branches thus facilitating pollination, did not occur in the flowers of spikes grown on Mir. While pollen did form in the anthers, no evidence of pollination or fertilization was observed. Analysis of pollen idlentified abnormalities; the presence of only one nucleus in the pollen as opposed to the normal trinucleate condition is likely an important factor in the sterility observed in wheat grown on Mir.