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Project Title:  Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2019 
Division: Human Research, Space Biology 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Space Biology: Plant Biology  
Start Date: 09/01/2015  
End Date: 09/30/2021  
Task Last Updated: 05/01/2020 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Massa, Gioia  Ph.D. / NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Address:  ISS Ground Processing and Research 
Mail Code UB-A-00 
Kennedy Space Center , FL 32899-0001 
Email: gioia.massa@nasa.gov 
Phone: 321-861-2938  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Douglas, Grace  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Hummerick, Mary  M.S. Amentum, Kennedy Space Center 
Mitchell, Cary  Ph.D. Purdue University--grant NNX15AN78G 
Morrow, Robert  Ph.D. Orbital Technologies Corporation 
Wheeler, Raymond  Ph.D. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Young, Millennia  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Spencer, LaShelle  M.S. Amentum, Kennedy Space Center 
Romeyn, Matt  M.S. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Roma, Peter  Ph.D. KBR Wyle, NASA Johnson Space Center 
Buncheck, Jess  M.S. Southeastern Universities Research Association, Kennedy Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: Fall 2019 report: Co-investigator (Co-I) Sandra Whitmire departed the project in Fall 2019, and Pete Roma was added as a Co-investigator for Behavioral Health and Performance (BHP). Diana Arias was added as a participant and test coordinator to support the BHP work. Jess Bunchek joined the project as a student intern in 2018 and was subsequently hired as a NASA contractor to continue working with this project. She was added as a Co-I.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Internal Project 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Douglas, Grace  
Center Contact:  
grace.l.douglas@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-ILSRA. International Life Sciences Research Announcement 
Grant/Contract No.: Internal Project 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) Food-03:We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Space Biology Element: (1) Plant Biology
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: (1) Bioregenerative Life Support
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 9/30/2021 per PI (Ed., 5/4/2020)

NOTE: End date changed to 8/31/2020 per PI (Ed., 8/17/18)

NOTE: Element change to Human Health Countermeasures; previously Space Human Factors & Habitability (Ed., 1/18/17)

NOTE: Period of performance changed to 9/01/2015-8/31/2018 (previously 7/1/15-6/30/18) per G. Douglas/HRP (Ed., 4/3/16)

Task Description: The capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration missions. However, studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in microgravity. The “Veggie” vegetable-production system on the International Space Station (ISS) offers an opportunity to develop a “pick-and-eat” fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to bioregenerative supplemental food production. We propose growing salad plants in the Veggie unit during spaceflight, focusing on the impact of light quality and fertilizer formulation on crop morphology, edible biomass yield, microbial food safety, organoleptic acceptability, nutritional value, and behavioral health benefits of the fresh produce. Phase A of the project would involve flight tests using leafy greens. Phase B would focus on dwarf tomato. Our work will help define light colors, levels, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. Our final deliverable will be the development of growth protocols for these crops in a spaceflight vegetable production system.

Specific aim 1: Evaluate the effects of four light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of leafy greens during flight-definition and flight testing.

Specific aim 2: Perform cultivar selection and evaluate the effects of four different red: blue light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of dwarf tomato during ground and flight tests.

Specific aim 3: Perform hazard analysis, develop plans for minimizing microbial hazards, and screen flight-grown produce for potential pathogens.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Research Project: Our work on “Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System” focuses on the development of a fresh food production capability on the International Space Station. Using the Veggie hardware we have been testing light and fertilizer combinations that will generate nutritious and appealing leafy green vegetables and dwarf tomatoes that astronauts can consume in a safe manner. The results of this research will be directly translatable to Earth-based controlled environment production of these and similar crops in vertical farms and urban plant factories.

The capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health-promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration exploration missions. However, studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in microgravity. The Veggie vegetable-production system on the International Space Station (ISS) offers an opportunity to develop a “pick-and-eat” fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to bioregenerative supplemental food production. Our goal is to grow salad plants in the Veggie unit during spaceflight, and assess the impact of light quality and fertilizer formulation on crop morphology, edible biomass yield, microbial food safety, organoleptic acceptability, nutritional value and behavioral health benefits. Our work will help define light color ratios, fertilizer composition, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. Our final deliverable will be the development of growth protocols for these crops in a spaceflight vegetable-production system. This will help reduce the risk and close the gap of inadequate nutrition by helping us advance the development of bioregenerative food production to supplement the packaged diet for future space exploration.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2019 
Task Progress: Crop Testing

Mizuna: After the VEG-04 experiment with mizuna was transitioned to become a plant pillow experiment in Veggie, ground testing was required to optimize fertilizer formulation and growth duration for this different growing system. It was decided to split the VEG-04 mizuna testing for flight into two tests, VEG-04A, lasting 28 days, and VEG-04B, a 56 day test with repeated harvests. Three ground tests were conducted -- the first a 28 day test to quickly narrow down fertilizer for VEG-04A preflight verification testing. The second and third tests were 56 day tests which further narrowed down the fertilizer and also the timing of harvests. The VEG-04A verification testing for flight proceeded in parallel with these tests. VEG-04A testing revealed issues of differential thermal heating through absorbance of visible radiation and re-radiation of infrared energy. The two light treatments selected for flight – 90% red: 10% blue plus green compared to 50% red: 50% blue plus green resulted in differential heating and water use in the plant pillows. This was mitigated by the addition of reflective plant pillow shades. Following fertilizer testing a change was made in the levels of fertilizer for fight. VEG-04A launched in Dec. 2018, and plants for that test were grown on ISS (with ground controls on a 52-hour delay) in June-July of 2019.

Several preflight verification tests had to be conducted for VEG-04B, and it was found that previous ground tests in analog systems did not act as good analogs for Veggie and plants in Veggie showed much worse growth than they did in ground analogs under the same conditions. This required changes in levels of fertilizer, spacing from lights, horticultural procedures, and water applications when compared to planned treatments. Ground verification testing and a water use test helped to clarify methods changes and the VEG-04B plant pillows launched in July of 2019 for planned growth in September.

During all preflight testing crew procedures and surveys were finalized, crew were consented, and preparations were made for the human subject aspects of the research. Additionally, ground samples were grown from the VEG-04A selected fertilizer, and organoleptic analyses of plants grown under different light settings were conducted. Analyses indicated that produce was acceptable to tasters, and there were no important changes in overall appeal over time, or between light treatments.

Dwarf tomato: Tomato testing was generally put on hold as the PONDS (Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System) hardware was redesigned for better functionality in microgravity. One test was conducted to grow tomatoes in plant pillows of either 250 mL or 500 mL substrate capacity in Veggie. While tomato plants grew in both pillow sizes, only 50% of the tomato plants survived. Fruit were produced on remaining plants and roughly the same amounts of fruit were produced in both.

HACCP plan development: A hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) plan has been developed, based on baseline microbiological data and a risk assessment for crops grown in the Veggie. The HACCP plan consists of clarification of process step control points, identification of food safety hazards at this point, and determination of methods to reduce the hazard. The following seven points have been identified:

1. Ground processing of pillows/PONDS, where introduction of microbes via handling and materials could occur and a plan to sterilize components and aseptic technique while assembling will help mitigate this hazard.

2. Ground processing of seeds, where introduction of microbes via handling and indigenous microbes present on seeds could present a hazard and this can be mitigated by disinfection, certification of pathogen free seed, and use of sanitary handling practices.

3. Integration with the Veggie hardware, where introduction of microbes via handling could occur and use of sanitary handling will help mitigate this risk.

4. Watering, where introduction of microbes via water supply or unsanitary handling is possible and can be mitigated by ensuring that water is potable quality and treated with biocide.

5. Growth of plants, where potential contamination from air and human presence, and an increase in indigenous flora due to availability of nutrients are possible risks, and use of sanitary handling and minimizing handling of plants before harvest will help mitigate this risk.

6. Harvest of crops, where introduction of microbes due to harvest procedures/human handling presents a risk, and sanitized instruments should be used, and gloves worn to mitigate it.

7. Post-harvest handling, where microbial presence established during plant growth may be introduced via handling, and crops should be sanitized before consumption following procedures to mitigate this. As well the Veggie facility should be thoroughly sanitized.

Packing and transport of plant pillows and PONDS are not considered control points and no additional mitigation is needed for these steps. Data from verification and flight tests continue to be taken to validate these HACCP points and mitigation steps.

Purdue University Research: During the present reporting period, our team members from Purdue University worked with Mizuna and ‘Outredgeous’ lettuce, two candidate salad-crop species. A ground-based Mizuna study was conducted with two main objectives: to investigate the effect of a cut-and-come-again procedure effect on biomass yield and mineral content of Mizuna over time, and to evaluate controlled-release fertilizer treatments for growing Mizuna under ISS conditions.

During the study, two Nutricote fertilizer treatments were evaluated. Mizuna plants grown under the mix with T180, the slower release fertilizer, had higher yield during the first harvest. However, plants grown under the mix with T100 had a higher increase in yield during the second harvest and less decrease for the third harvest. So, the T100 mix ended up with higher total yield for the three harvests. The T100 mix gave an increase in micro-nutrients but decrease in macro-nutrients from harvest to harvest. The T180 mix gave an increase in P and Mg content, but a decrease in N, K, Na, Ca, and S, and an increase in micro-nutrients from harvest to harvest. Both treatment mixes led to a higher percentage of Al, Cu, and Fe in root tissues, and the T180 mix-grown plants showed a higher level of Mn.

A similar test was performed with ‘Outredgeous’ lettuce. Lettuce plants grown with the T100 mix had higher fresh weight than plants grown under the T180 treatment. We concluded that both Mizuna and lettuce grew better with a fertilizer mix with T100. Further studies are needed to understand the response of Mizuna to T180 fertilizer mix. At the end of each experiment, leachate samples were collected from each substrate for electrical conductivity (EC) measurements. Despite the higher yield for T100 fertilizer treatment, leachate samples indicated high EC for both T100 and T180. This led to an examination of the root environment to determine if it may limit fertilizer uptake. Substrate physical-properties including container capacity, air space, total porosity, and bulk density for different substrate combinations were measured. Analysis indicated that standard substrate physical properties can be met with the mix of 60%Turface: 40% Profile.

SNC ORBITEC Research: The SNC ORBITEC testing assessed a range of wick materials, wick configurations, wick processing steps, and seed-placement position to determine effectiveness for germinating seeds in Veggie plant pillows. Since a large number of plant pillows were not available for this assessment, a cup system mimicking a plant pillow was developed. The substrate formulation used inside the cups was the same as that used for the VEG-04B flight experiment.

Tested wicks were cut from a variety of materials, passed through a foam gasket and lid, and positioned in the cup while the substrate is filled and packed around each of the paired wicks (depending on the configuration used). ‘Outredgeous’ lettuce was used as a test species. Each cup was bottom watered in a controlled environment room under similar temperature and light to the ISS with slightly higher humidity and Earth-ambient CO2.

Wick material, wick configuration, and seed placement were evaluated. Five wick materials that should be safe for ISS were tested: Shamtastic (85% rayon and 15% olefin), Crew wipe (polypropylene), Synthetic gauze (polyester-rayon), Nomex (aramid polymer), and Capmat 2 (non-woven polyester). Most of these wicks, aside from the crew wipes, have an open fibrous structure. They are also thicker than the crew wipe wicks currently used in Veggie pillows. Wick configurations tested included 1) wicks cut flush to the foam gasket, 2) wicks cut so they protrude 2 cm above wick gasket, and with the two wick pieces spread at the base, and 3) wicks cut so they protrude 2 cm above the foam gasket, with the two wick pieces together at base. Seed position treatments included 1) placing the seeds at the midpoint of the gasket thickness, and 2) placing the seeds just below the gasket. Seedlings were thinned, and the germination rate was recorded. At 21 days, plants were assessed for any damage, measured to obtain height, and then harvested. Fresh and dry weights were collected from harvested plants. Wicks were assessed for salt accumulation and contamination.

In general, the crew wipe and synthetic gauze materials had the highest germination rates. Germination did not appear to be impacted by wick configuration or by seed location. Plants grew best in the Crew Wipe wicks, closely followed by Synthetic gauze wicks, and then by the Shamtastic wicks. The Nomex and CapMat 2 wicks showed consistently poor growth. Plant growth did not appear to significantly differ due to wick configuration or seed placement. So far, the crew wipe and synthetic gauze materials appear to perform better than the other wick materials tested. A long wick opening away from the plant stem may be slightly better than a wick cut flush to the gasket. Salt deposits seemed to be more apparent on the crew wipes, though this might be due to either the tight fiber configuration causing more salt deposition, or this configuration just making salt deposition more visible. The Shamtastic material appeared particularly susceptible to mold development and degradation than the other wick materials. For this reason we will not evaluate this wick material in more detail.

Upcoming assessments will include testing of additional wick materials. In addition, some seeds will be grown without wicks for comparison. Other wick treatments will include additional wick lengths and autoclaved wicks vs non autoclaved wicks to determine if this step helps reduce mold and algae growth.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 05/06/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Mickens MA, Torralba M, Robinson SA, Spencer LE, Romeyn MW, Massa GD, Wheeler RM. "Growth of red pak choi under red and blue, supplemented white, and artificial sunlight provided by LEDs." Sci Hortic (Amsterdam). 2019 Feb;245:200-9. Epub 2018 Oct 22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2018.10.023 , Feb-2019
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Mickens MA, Skoog EJ, Reese LE, Barnwell PL, Spencer LE, Massa GD, Wheeler RM. "A strategic approach for investigating light recipes for ‘Outredgeous’ red romaine lettuce using white and monochromatic LEDs." Life Sci Space Res (Amst). 2018 Nov;19:53-62. Epub 2018 Sep 18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lssr.2018.09.003 ; PubMed PMID: 30482283 , Nov-2018
Papers from Meeting Proceedings Burgner SE, Mitchell C, Massa G, Romeyn MW, Wheeler RM, Morrow R. "Troubleshooting Performance Failures of Chinese Cabbage for Veggie on the ISS." 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Boston, MA, July 7-11, 2019.

49th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Boston, MA, July 7-11, 2019. ICES paper ICES-2019-328. , Jul-2019

Papers from Meeting Proceedings Romeyn MW, Spencer LE, Massa GD, Wheeler RM. "Crop Readiness Level (CRL): A Scale to Track Progression of Crop Testing for Space." 49th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Boston, MA, July 7-11, 2019.

49th International Conference on Environmental Systems, Boston, MA, July 7-11, 2019. ICES paper ICES-2019-342. , Jul-2019

Project Title:  Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2018 
Division: Human Research, Space Biology 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Space Biology: Plant Biology  
Start Date: 09/01/2015  
End Date: 08/31/2020  
Task Last Updated: 08/16/2018 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Massa, Gioia  Ph.D. / NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Address:  ISS Ground Processing and Research 
Mail Code UB-A-00 
Kennedy Space Center , FL 32899-0001 
Email: gioia.massa@nasa.gov 
Phone: 321-861-2938  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Douglas, Grace  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Hummerick, Mary  M.S. URS Federal Services, Inc.,  
Mitchell, Cary  Ph.D. Purdue University 
Morrow, Robert  Ph.D. Orbital Technologies Corporation 
Wheeler, Raymond  Ph.D. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Young, Millennia  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Whitmire, Alexandra M. Ph.D. Wyle Laboratories 
Spencer , LaShelle  M.S. URS Federal Services, Inc.,  
Romeyn, Matt  M.S. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: August 2017: LaShelle Spencer and Matt Romeyn have been added as Co-Investigators as of August 23, 2017.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Internal Project 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Douglas, Grace  
Center Contact:  
grace.l.douglas@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-ILSRA. International Life Sciences Research Announcement 
Grant/Contract No.: Internal Project 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates: 15 
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) Food-03:We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Space Biology Element: (1) Plant Biology
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: (1) Bioregenerative Life Support
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 8/31/2020 per PI (Ed., 8/17/18)

NOTE: Element change to Human Health Countermeasures; previously Space Human Factors & Habitability (Ed., 1/18/17)

NOTE: Period of performance changed to 9/01/2015-8/31/2018 (previously 7/1/15-6/30/18) per G. Douglas/HRP (Ed., 4/3/16)

Task Description: The capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration missions. However, studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in microgravity. The “Veggie” vegetable-production system on the International Space Station (ISS) offers an opportunity to develop a “pick-and-eat” fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to bioregenerative supplemental food production. We propose growing salad plants in the Veggie unit during spaceflight, focusing on the impact of light quality and fertilizer formulation on crop morphology, edible biomass yield, microbial food safety, organoleptic acceptability, nutritional value, and behavioral health benefits of the fresh produce. Phase A of the project would involve flight tests using leafy greens. Phase B would focus on dwarf tomato. Our work will help define light colors, levels, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. Our final deliverable will be the development of growth protocols for these crops in a spaceflight vegetable production system.

Specific aim 1: Evaluate the effects of four light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of leafy greens during flight-definition and flight testing.

Specific aim 2: Perform cultivar selection and evaluate the effects of four different red: blue light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of dwarf tomato during ground and flight tests.

Specific aim 3: Perform hazard analysis, develop plans for minimizing microbial hazards, and screen flight-grown produce for potential pathogens.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Research Project: Our work on “Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System” focuses on the development of a fresh food production capability on the International Space Station. Using the Veggie hardware we will develop light and fertilizer combinations that will help to generate nutritious and appealing leafy green vegetables and dwarf tomatoes that astronauts can consume in a safe manner. The results of this research will be directly translatable to Earth-based controlled environment production of these and similar crops in vertical farms and urban plant factories.

The capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health-promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration exploration missions. However, studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in microgravity. The Veggie vegetable-production system on the ISS offers an opportunity to develop a “pick-and-eat” fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to bioregenerative supplemental food production. Our goal is to grow salad plants in the Veggie unit during spaceflight, and assess the impact of light quality and fertilizer formulation on crop morphology, edible biomass yield, microbial food safety, organoleptic acceptability, nutritional value and behavioral health benefits. Our work will help define light color ratios, fertilizer composition, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. Our final deliverable will be the development of growth protocols for these crops in a spaceflight vegetable-production system. This will help reduce the risk and close the gap of inadequate nutrition by helping us advance the development of bioregenerative food production to supplement the packaged diet for future space exploration.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2018 
Task Progress: Crop Testing

Mizuna: A number of tests were conducted with mizuna in both analog PONDS and in flight-like PONDS (water and plant containment) systems in preparation for the preflight science verification test. Each flight PONDS unit would hold one plant in a cylinder of granular rooting medium of arcillite, with the cylinder then supported in a plastic container that holds water. Two experiments were conducted in analog PONDS hardware focusing on the four different red (R): blue (B) light ratios of interest, and data on crop parameters including assessments of plant growth (fresh mass, area, volume, relative chlorophyll, leaf number, leaf area, dry mass) and chemistry/nutrient assessments (Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Lutein, Zeaxanthin) were conducted. 90% R :10% B light treatments and 50% R : 50% B treatments showed better fresh mass and lutein than in other treatments and because of these responses and similar levels of other nutrients to other treatments, these were the two light levels selected for follow on testing and flight experimentation. Additional ground tests were conducted comparing analog PONDS and flight-like PONDS systems in preparation for the preflight science verification test. At Kennedy Space Center (KSC), different methods of the cut-and-come-again, i.e., repetitive harvest techniques were tested in both types of hardware, with the “standard” removal of the outer oldest leaves compared to “major” removal, which removed large and medium leaves. Interestingly the type of PONDS analog had an impact on the most successful harvest strategy. Also there was a large impact on growth, with plants grown in the flight-like analog achieving a much greater mass than those in the original analog, likely due to a greater volume and oxygen exchange capacity. Although both techniques were similarly effective it was decided to proceed with the major cut-and-come-again approach for flight testing due to the ease of this technique and an ability to reduce chances of broken leaves in the Veggie hardware.

At Purdue University, mizuna plants were grown in a growth chamber mimicking the same environmental and cultural conditions as for the Veggie plant-growth system on ISS in original Plants grew for 56 days under one of three light treatments: 90% Red : 10% Blue; 70% Red : 30% Blue; or 50% Red : 50% Blue. Large and medium-sized leaves from the three light treatments were harvested two times during the experiment: The first harvest occurred 28 days from planting, and the second harvest at 38 days from planting. In addition, whole plants were harvested at 56 days to end the experiment. Data from all harvests are consistent with the fact that red light enhances leaf expansion and blue light increases leaf number. Overall, a decrease in yield was noted over time and it is postulated that this decrease relates to mineral deficiency. Current studies are testing optimum fertilizer ratios for growing mizuna plants with cut-and-come-again harvesting practices. Similar work is also being conducted at KSC in the plant pillows. Although the PONDS hardware and analogs worked effectively on Earth, preliminary flight tests of this hardware indicated that it was not as effective in microgravity. Thus the VEG-04 experiment with mizuna has been transitioned to become a plant pillow experiment in Veggie and ground testing is required to optimize fertilizer formulation and growth duration for this different growing system.

Mizuna plants were grown at KSC in Veggie analog conditions and PONDS analog hardware under the two red: blue light treatments selected for flight evaluation and shipped overnight to the Johnson Space Center Space Food Systems Laboratory for evaluation. Produce was evaluated on a 9-point hedonic scale (1=dislike extremely – 9=like extremely) for Overall Acceptability, Appearance, Color, Aroma, Flavor, and Texture, and a 5 point Just-about-right scale (3= just about right, <3=too little, >3=too much) for Crispness, Tenderness, and Bitterness. The mizuna samples were not statistically significantly different in overall acceptability and fell within the range of most ISS products, which generally score from ~6.5-7.5.

Dwarf tomato: In preparation for flight tomato seed orientation was determined to be able to have the root emerge in the substrate. Tomato seed surface sterilization techniques were also established so ensure that plants would start germination without a microbial load on their seed surfaces. Preliminary fertilizer testing of ‘Red Robin’ tomato plants growing in original PONDS analog hardware was completed at KSC in the summer of 2017, and results indicated that plants grown using the T90 nano 14-4-14 fertilizer produced a slightly greater fresh mass of ripe fruit than plants grown with T100 14-4-14 nutricote fertilizer of standard prill size. Further testing was conducted in the fall of 2017 with tomato plants grown in these analog PONDS units using T90 fertilizer with the 4 light treatments discussed above for mizuna: 90 R : 10 B, 70 R : 30 B, 50 R : 50 B, and split. On average the 50 R : 50 B and 90 R : 10 B treatments produced the greatest amount of fruit and contained some of the best nutritional properties of tested light treatments. Similar tomato light and fertilizer experiments were conducted at ORBITEC/SNC; however, these tests were conducted with a coarser arcillite substrate and a slightly different PONDS analog configuration. Plants seemed less healthy, and in many cases plants grown with the T90 fertilizer did not survive. The analog PONDS growth system appears to have great sensitivity to arcillite particle size and fertilizer prill size. Smaller fertilizer prills like the T90 nano may sift down in this system and not provide sufficient nutrients in the growing zone in a coarser rooting substrate.

HACCP plan development: A hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) plan is being developed based on baseline microbiological data and a risk assessment for crops grown in the VEGGIE in order to provide fresh food for the crew. The goal of this work is to develop a plan based on an evaluation of potential microbial risks associated with crops grown in Veggie, harvest methods, and pre and post-harvest procedures for reducing and/or preventing microbial contamination, the primary goal of a HACCP plan being prevention. Understanding the normal microbial populations on the variety of produce grown in Veggie and contamination prevention is necessary to provide safe palatable fresh food especially since specific and real time microbial monitoring methods are currently lacking for this purpose on ISS.

The hazard analysis includes verification of the procedures, and baseline microbiological data collected from ground and flight studies to ascertain normal microbial populations on the crops and Veggie components. As part of this work both ‘Tokyo Bekana’ Chinese cabbage and mizuna have been assessed for baseline microbial populations and specific pathogens when grown under the different test configurations. After the first harvest, microbial numbers generally increased in mizuna plants over repetitive harvest times but these numbers were similar between the major and standard cut-and-come-again harvest methods. Produce sanitizing wipes were very effective at removing both aerobic bacterial and fungal contaminants from leaves. ‘Red Robin’ tomato baseline assessment is underway.

Preflight testing and flight preparation: A series of preflight tests must be conducted before candidate payloads proceed to flight. Initially an Experiment Requirements Document (ERD) must be developed. This involves defining success criteria for flight. Following approval of the ERD, a preliminary Science Verification Test (SVT) is conducted in the flight hardware under ISS environmental conditions. The goal of the SVT is to test an investigation under flight-like conditions and to answer key questions within the investigation. For the VEG-04 and VEG-05 key open questions were on the watering frequency for the crops. Therefore in both the VEG-04 and VEG-05 SVT plant water use was tracked on a daily basis. Following SVT, if success criteria were met, an investigation can gain approval to move on to the Experiment Verification Test (EVT). All conditions, as nearly as possible, should replicate those that are planned for use in flight. If an EVT is successful, a payload is approved for flight. If either an SVT or an EVT fails to meet sufficient success criteria, a delta verification test will be conducted. In the period of performance for this grant an SVT and EVT were conducted for VEG-04, and an SVT was conducted for VEG-05.

The VEG-04 and VEG-05 SVT tests were conducted using the PONDS growth hardware. These tests were run at ISS conditions, and plant water use was monitored. For VEG-04 SVT, plants were harvested four times over a 55 day growth period. Regrowth was not exceptional, and thus a decision was made to modify the fertilizer formulation for the EVT. While the modification appeared successful, EVT had additional challenges, including faster growth than was observed for SVT, leading to increased water use and wilting of plants. At the same time the PONDS tech demo on the ISS did not work as expected in microgravity. These circumstances led to a change in plans and VEG-04 will now use plant pillows instead of the PONDS hardware. A delta EVT is being planned for VEG-04 in late August 2018. The VEG-05 SVT of tomatoes in PONDS was successful, and currently it is planned that tomatoes will continue to be grown in PONDS with modification of PONDS components and operations. Modifications of this system are being developed under and independent contract and a tech demo will be tested in ISS as early as December of 2018, with an EVT possible for VEG-05 in January 2019.

Questionnaires to survey astronaut mood in response to plant growth, as well as organoleptic analysis ratings for on-orbit produce consumption have been approved through the Johnson Space Center (JSC) eIRB process. Questions will be asked of all enrolled US Orbital Segment (USOS) crew members that will fly during the time that plants will be grown on ISS. Data will be collected pre-flight, in flight, and post flight. Organoleptic evaluations will be conducted by crew who are enrolled and available to taste produce during harvest events. Evaluation criteria for both VEG-04 and VEG-05 have been developed and entry of these evaluations has been made into a data collection platform. Informed consent briefings and crew participant enrollment in the studies are ongoing. Four participants have consented to date.

In addition to preparing science for the flight, the grant team has worked closely with payload developers to develop the contents for science and support kits which are being used for the preflight testing. Kits are being developed for the flight payloads and will be launched as accompanying hardware. A quantum meter was selected, manifested, and launched to the ISS in June of 2018. This meter will be used to measure the incident stray light coming into the Veggie hardware from overhead ISS lighting when Veggie lights are off, and allow us to set up similar ambient lighting conditions for ground control experiments. A divider has been built to separate the Veggie units to keep the light environments separate on the ground, and on the ISS, if needed (depending on their locations). Additionally it will provide a white surface which will allow good reflection of escaping light back into the chamber, thus helping to increase light uniformity within the Veggie chamber. ORBITEC/SNC has tested a number of materials to act as a reflective bellows, providing an essentially one-way mirror effect, reflective when the Veggie interior lighting is off, but translucent when the Veggie lighting is on. A good candidate material has been identified and may be used in future Veggie hardware upgrades if the science drives a need to reduce stray light into Veggie.

Preflight preparation continues at all locations with the first flight operations scheduled to start in fall 2018 and subsequent flight tests in 2019.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 05/06/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Morsi AH. "Optimizing Spectra for Mizuna Grown On International Space Station." 2018 American Society for Horticultural Science meeting, Washington, DC, July 30-August 3, 2018.

2018 American Society for Horticultural Science meeting, Washington, DC, July 30-August 3, 2018. , Aug-2018

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Massa GD, Romeyn MW, Fritsche RF. "Future Food Production System Development Pulling From Space Biology Crop Growth Testing in Veggie." 33rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, Seattle, WA, October 25-28, 2017.

33rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, Seattle, WA, October 25-28, 2017. , Oct-2017

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Urbaniak C, Massa G, Hummerick M, Khodadad C, Schuerger A, Venkateswaran K. "Draft genome sequences of two Fusarium oxysporum isolates cultured from infected Zinnia hybrida plants grown on the International Space Station." Genome Announc. 2018 May 17;6(20):e00326-18. https://doi.org/10.1128/genomeA.00326-18 ; PubMed PMID: 29773617; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5958250 , May-2018
Dissertations and Theses Burgner SE. "Physiological and Growth Characteristics of Brassica rapa 'Tokyo Bekana' Grown within the International Space Station Crop Production System." Thesis, Purdue University, August, 2017. https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/dissertations/AAI10607690/ , Aug-2017
Project Title:  Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2017 
Division: Human Research, Space Biology 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Space Biology: Plant Biology  
Start Date: 09/01/2015  
End Date: 08/31/2018  
Task Last Updated: 07/11/2017 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Massa, Gioia  Ph.D. / NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Address:  ISS Ground Processing and Research 
Mail Code UB-A-00 
Kennedy Space Center , FL 32899-0001 
Email: gioia.massa@nasa.gov 
Phone: 321-861-2938  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Douglas, Grace  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Hummerick, Mary  M.S. Qinetiq North America, Inc. 
Mitchell, Cary  Ph.D. Purdue University 
Morrow, Robert  Ph.D. Orbital Technologies Corporation 
Wheeler, Raymond  Ph.D. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Young, Millennia  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Whitmire, Alexandra M. Ph.D. Wyle Laboratories 
Spencer , LaShelle  M.S. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Romeyn, Matt  M.S. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: August 2017: LaShelle Spencer and Matt Romeyn have been added as Co-Investigators as of August 23, 2017. CoInvestigator Thomas Williams has been changed to Alexandra Whitmire – Jan. 2017.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Internal Project 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Douglas, Grace  
Center Contact:  
grace.l.douglas@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-ILSRA. International Life Sciences Research Announcement 
Grant/Contract No.: Internal Project 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) Food-03:We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Space Biology Element: (1) Plant Biology
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: (1) Bioregenerative Life Support
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: Element change to Human Health Countermeasures; previously Space Human Factors & Habitability (Ed., 1/18/17)

NOTE: Period of performance changed to 9/01/2015-8/31/2018 (previously 7/1/15-6/30/18) per G. Douglas/HRP (Ed., 4/3/16)

Task Description: The capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration missions. However, studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in microgravity. The “Veggie” vegetable-production system on the International Space Station (ISS) offers an opportunity to develop a “pick-and-eat” fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to bioregenerative supplemental food production. We propose growing salad plants in the Veggie unit during spaceflight, focusing on the impact of light quality and fertilizer formulation on crop morphology, edible biomass yield, microbial food safety, organoleptic acceptability, nutritional value, and behavioral health benefits of the fresh produce. Phase A of the project would involve flight tests using leafy greens. Phase B would focus on dwarf tomato. Our work will help define light colors, levels, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. Our final deliverable will be the development of growth protocols for these crops in a spaceflight vegetable production system.

Specific aim 1: Evaluate the effects of four light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of leafy greens during flight-definition and flight testing.

Specific aim 2: Perform cultivar selection and evaluate the effects of four different red: blue light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of dwarf tomato during ground and flight tests.

Specific aim 3: Perform hazard analysis, develop plans for minimizing microbial hazards, and screen flight-grown produce for potential pathogens.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Our work on “Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System” focuses on the development of a fresh food production capability on the International Space Station. Using the Veggie hardware we will develop light and fertilizer combinations that will help to generate nutritious and appealing leafy green vegetables and dwarf tomatoes that astronauts can consume in a safe manner. The results of this research will be directly translatable to Earth-based controlled environment production of these and similar crops in vertical farms and urban plant factories.

The capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health-promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration missions. However, studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in microgravity. The “Veggie” vegetable-production system on the ISS offers an opportunity to develop a “pick-and-eat” fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to bioregenerative supplemental food production. Our goal is to grow salad plants in the Veggie unit during spaceflight, and assess on the impact of light quality and fertilizer formulation on crop morphology, edible biomass yield, microbial food safety, acceptability, nutritional value, and behavioral health benefits. Our work will help define light color ratios, fertilizer composition, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. Our final deliverable will be the development of growth protocols for these crops in a spaceflight vegetable-production system. This will help reduce the risk and close the gap of inadequate nutrition by helping us advance the development of bioregenerative food production to supplement the packaged diet for future space exploration.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2017 
Task Progress: Crop Testing

Chinese cabbage: Following down selection to a top leafy green (‘Tokyo bekana’ Chinese cabbage) and tomato (‘Red Robin’ dwarf tomato) varieties, testing was conducted using analog Veggie growth systems using the four light treatments and three fertilizer treatments selected. Plants were grown in analog Veggie pillows using a mixture of arcillite and vermiculite substrate. Although plants were grown under identical conditions in both locations, differences in growth between crops grown at the different locations were large and these tended to confound the light and fertilizer variables. Under ISS and Veggie-relevant conditions, however, the ‘Tokyo bekana’ Chinese cabbage exhibited moderate to severe stress symptoms. Symptoms included yellowing (chlorosis) and necrotic lesions on leaves. This symptomology led Purdue team members to investigate the underlying causes of these stress responses, while Kennedy Space Center (KSC) team members focused on trying to mitigate the response via fertilization.

A series of tests at Purdue attempted to determine the sources of this stress. Chemistry of plant samples from the first two pillow tests indicated high levels of Manganese in plant tissues. Tests comparing rinsed and un-rinsed arcillite attempted to determine if these excessive levels were due to minerals leaching from the substrate. Additional testing was performed with different particle sizes of arcillite. Data from these tests showed no significant differences in plant growth in response to particle size or substrate rinsing. Additional testing conducted at Purdue substituted green lighting for red lighting and canopy separation distance from the light cap. Neither approach positively impacted plant growth, nor reduced observed stress responses.

While the Purdue team worked to track down the source of Chinese cabbage stress, the KSC team attempted to mitigate that stress via fertilizer supplementation. For this reason, the most stress-inducing lighting treatment of 90% Red: 10% Blue was used. Regardless of treatment Chinese cabbage still showed signs of stress.

The Purdue team then conducted studies growing plants under either 600 ppm CO2 or elevated CO2 at 2800 ppm, the conditions found on the ISS. In addition to growing plants for 28 days under these conditions, they also swapped trays of plants between conditions at 14 days and 21 days. They found that not only was plant growth better when plants were grown for longer under 600 ppm but damage to leaves was also directly dependent on receiving lower CO2, especially during the last two critical weeks of growth. These results led to the examination of photosynthetic responses of this crop to different CO2 levels. When grown under three different CO2 levels of 450, 900, and 1350 ppm, Chinese cabbage showed large differences in many growth parameters, including fresh and dry masses of tissues, with the best growth seen at the lowest CO2 level.

This response is quite different than many other plants studied and makes this crop interesting physiologically. Note, most so-called C3 photosynthesis plants typically show increased photosynthetic rates when CO2 is elevated from ambient (Drake et al., 1997). This feature, however, likely indicating the stress observed under the elevated CO2 levels of ISS, makes this plant unsuitable to grow in the Veggie chamber. For this reason, Mizuna was selected as the crop for subsequent spaceflight experimentation.

Mizuna: Mizuna showed similar yield to Chinese cabbage in PONDS (Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System) tests but had very few indications of stress. Earlier crop selection testing also indicated that Mizuna was an excellent candidate for spaceflight from a nutritional and organoleptic perspective (Massa et al., 2015). In addition, mizuna has been grown successfully in space before in the Russian Lada chamber on ISS, giving us more confidence in moving from Chinese cabbage to mizuna (Sugimoto et al., 2014). Initial tests with Mizuna used older seeds. The crop grew very robustly in the PONDS analog watering system with Veggie-analog lighting and testing on this crop with different lighting treatments is underway. Moving forward testing will continue with Mizuna which will be the crop grown in VEG-04 and ‘Red Robin’ which will be grown in the VEG-05 tests.

Dwarf tomato: KSC and Purdue conducted one full trial of tomato plants in rooting pillows. Results indicated good fruit production but with large amounts of variability in response due to location of testing. Also, plants demonstrated stress responses including stunting, nutrient defects, leaf curling, purpling of leaf and stem, and leaf senescence and abscission. Some of these impacts may have been due to the crop variety, some to the cultivation conditions, and some to the environment. Tomatoes are currently being grown in analog PONDS systems with an augmented fertilizer composition at KSC, and similar testing is starting in the larger growth rooms at SNC/ORBITEC. This experiment will be harvested in August, 2017. In addition to the fertilizer comparison, pollination methods are being tested, with a small soft brush being compared to manual plant shaking. Watering System: During the past year, the Veggie team has modified the Veggie watering system. The original system of plant pillows with a wicking reservoir was found to provide insufficient water to the plants (Massa et al., 2017) in earlier flight testing. Because of this the Veggie team has selected the PONDS (Passive Orbital Nutrient Delivery System) as the next watering system which will be used for the upcoming VEG-04 and VEG-05 flights for this project. The contract for the development of this hardware required for pre-flight testing and flight experimentation has been awarded to TechShot, and they have subcontracted out to Tupperware for these units. Our project team has had input into the design requirements for this hardware. Preliminary units are scheduled to arrive in Nov. 2017 for the initial science verifications tests with the Mizuna crop.

Crew assessments: Questionnaires to survey astronaut mood in response to plant growth, as well as organoleptic analysis ratings for on-orbit produce consumption have been developed and were submitted to the Johnson Space Center (JSC) eIRB process. Questions will be asked of all USOS crew members that will fly during the time that plants will be grown on ISS. Organoleptic evaluations will be conducted by crew who are available to taste produce during harvest events.

Flight software development: Firmware modifications for the Veggie system controller were completed during the first project period. During the project period covered by this report the new firmware was tested on flight-like Veggie units and will be loaded on four ground Veggie units sent to KSC and one unit maintained in house at SNC/ORBITEC. The new firmware will be loaded on the two Veggies on the ISS when crew time is available. The firmware modifications changed the red and blue LED light intensity control method. There was interest expressed by KSC to make this modification for green LEDs also. This was determined by SNC/ORBITEC to be feasible but it has not been determined if it will be done at this time. It may be implemented at a later date. Once the new firmware is fully functional in all ISS Veggie units this task will be complete.

Preparation for Flight Experimentation: A second Veggie unit (Veggie SN 001) launched to the ISS aboard the Orbital ATK space station resupply mission (OA-7) on April 18th, 2017 from Kennedy Space Center. This unit is planned to be installed in the Columbus module EXPRESS (EXpedite the PRocessing of Experiments for Space Station) rack containing the original ISS Veggie (SN 002) in late summer or early fall of 2017. The two units will be used simultaneously for the VEG-04 and VEG-05 experiments to perform side-by-side testing with different light spectra for growth of Mizuna and Dwarf tomato, respectively.

Works Cited

Drake BG, Gonzalez-Meler MA, Long SP. 1997. More efficient plants: A consequence of rising atmospheric CO2? Annual Reviews of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 48: 609-639.

Massa, GD, Dufour NF, Carver JA, Hummerick ME, Wheeler RM, Morrow RC, Smith TM (2017) VEG-01: Veggie hardware validation testing on the International Space Station. Open Agriculture 2:33-41.

Massa GD, Wheeler RM, Stutte GW, Richards JT, Spencer LE, Hummerick ME, Douglas GL, Sirmons T (2015) Selection of Leafy Green Vegetable Varieties for a Pick-and-Eat Diet Supplement on ISS. International Conference on Environmental Systems Technical Paper, ICES-2015-252, 16 pp.

Sugimoto, M. Y. Oono, O. Gusev, T. Matsumoto, T. Yazawa, M. A. Levinshkikh, V.N. Sychev, G.E. Bingham, R. Wheeler and M. Hummerick. 2014. Genome-wide expression analysis of reactive oxygen species gene network in mizuna plants grown in long-term spaceflight. BMC Plant Biology 2014 14:4.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 05/06/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Burgner SB, Mitchell CA, Massa GD. "Optimized Light Quality and Fertilizer Composition for Crop Production on the International Space Station." 2016 American Society for Horticultural Science meeting, Atlanta, GA, August 8-11, 2016.

HortScience. 2016 Sep;51(9)Suppl:S297. , Sep-2016

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Burgner SB, Mitchell CA, Massa GD. "Optimized Light Quality and Fertilizer Composition for Crop Production on the International Space Station." 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, Cleveland, OH, October 26-29, 2016.

32nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, Cleveland, OH, October 26-29, 2016. , Oct-2016

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Burgner SB, Mitchell CA, Massa GD. "Effects of elevated carbon dioxide on Brassica rapa ‘Tokyo Bekana’ in a spaceflight production environment." Poster at North Central Extension & Research Activity – 101 Committee on Controlled Environment Technology and Use 2017, Pacific Grove, CA, April 9-12, 2017.

North Central Extension & Research Activity – 101 Committee on Controlled Environment Technology and Use 2017, Pacific Grove, CA, April 9-12, 2017. , Apr-2017

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Burgner SB, Mitchell CA, Massa GD. "Evaluating Chinese cabbage for production on the International Space Station." Presentation at North Central Extension & Research Activity – 101 Committee on Controlled Environment Technology and Use 2017, Pacific Grove, CA, April 9-12, 2017.

North Central Extension & Research Activity – 101 Committee on Controlled Environment Technology and Use 2017, Pacific Grove, CA, April 9-12, 2017. , Apr-2017

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Burgner SB, Mitchell CA, Massa GD. "Elevated CO2 creates challenges for production of Chinese cabbage on the International Space Station." Lightning Talk at North Central Extension & Research Activity – 101 Committee on Controlled Environment Technology and Use 2017, Pacific Grove, CA, April 9-12, 2017.

North Central Extension & Research Activity – 101 Committee on Controlled Environment Technology and Use 2017, Pacific Grove, CA, April 9-12, 2017. , Apr-2017

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Massa GD, Dufour NF, Carver JA, Hummerick ME, Wheeler RM, Morrow RC, Smith TM. "VEG-01: Veggie hardware validation testing on the International Space Station." Open Agriculture. 2017 Feb;2(1):33-41. https://doi.org/10.1515/opag-2017-0003 , Feb-2017
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Massa GD, Newsham G, Hummerick ME, Morrow RC, Wheeler RM. "Plant pillow preparation for the Veggie plant growth system on the International Space Station." Gravitational and Space Research. 2017 Jul;5(1):24-34. http://gravitationalandspacebiology.org/index.php/journal/article/view/749 , Jul-2017
Significant Media Coverage Odier L. "Space salad. Online article about Dr. Massa's research regarding Veggie plant growth on ground and on ISS." Financial Times, January 16, 2016. http://lombardodier.ft.com/articles/air/space-salad.html/ ; accessed 7/19/17., Jan-2016
Significant Media Coverage MarketWatch. "Here's what a salad looks like on Mars. Online video including interviews with Dr. Massa regarding Veggie plant growth on ground and on ISS." S&P 500 SectorWatch, June 27, 2017. : http://www.marketwatch.com/video/sectorwatch/here-what-a-salad-looks-like-on-mars/50A241E7-B742-4AD8-B0CA-20E42B188B96.html ; accessed 7/19/17. , Jun-2017
Significant Media Coverage NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. "SpaceX Successfully Launches Rocket from Historic NASA Pad in Florida. Veggie highlighted on NBC Nightly news." NBC Nightly news, February 19, 2017: http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/spacex-successfully-launches-rocket-from-historic-nasa-pad-in-florida-880768579611 ; accessed 7/19/17., Feb-2017
Project Title:  Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2016 
Division: Human Research, Space Biology 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Space Biology: Plant Biology  
Start Date: 09/01/2015  
End Date: 08/31/2018  
Task Last Updated: 07/26/2016 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Massa, Gioia  Ph.D. / NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Address:  ISS Ground Processing and Research 
Mail Code UB-A-00 
Kennedy Space Center , FL 32899-0001 
Email: gioia.massa@nasa.gov 
Phone: 321-861-2938  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Douglas, Grace  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Hummerick, Mary  M.S. Qinetiq North America, Inc. 
Mitchell, Cary  Ph.D. Purdue University 
Morrow, Robert  Ph.D. Orbital Technologies Corporation 
Wheeler, Raymond  Ph.D. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Young, Millennia  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Williams, Thomas  Ph.D. Wyle Laboratories 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: CoInvestigator Alexandra Whitmire has been changed to Thomas Williams – Feb. 2016 ; CoInvestigator Rob Ploutz-Snyder has been changed to Millennia Young– July 2016.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Internal Project 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Douglas, Grace  
Center Contact:  
grace.l.douglas@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-ILSRA. International Life Sciences Research Announcement 
Grant/Contract No.: Internal Project 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) Food-03:We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Space Biology Element: (1) Plant Biology
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: (1) Bioregenerative Life Support
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: Element change to Human Health Countermeasures; previously Space Human Factors & Habitability (Ed., 1/18/17)

NOTE: Period of performance changed to 9/01/2015-8/31/2018 (previously 7/1/15-6/30/18) per G. Douglas/HRP (Ed., 4/3/16)

Task Description: The capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration missions. However, studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in microgravity. The “Veggie” vegetable-production system on the International Space Station (ISS) offers an opportunity to develop a “pick-and-eat” fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to bioregenerative supplemental food production. We propose growing salad plants in the Veggie unit during spaceflight, focusing on the impact of light quality and fertilizer formulation on crop morphology, edible biomass yield, microbial food safety, organoleptic acceptability, nutritional value, and behavioral health benefits of the fresh produce. Phase A of the project would involve flight tests using leafy greens. Phase B would focus on dwarf tomato. Our work will help define light colors, levels, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. Our final deliverable will be the development of growth protocols for these crops in a spaceflight vegetable production system.

Specific aim 1: Evaluate the effects of four light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of leafy greens during flight-definition and flight testing.

Specific aim 2: Perform cultivar selection and evaluate the effects of four different red: blue light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of dwarf tomato during ground and flight tests.

Specific aim 3: Perform hazard analysis, develop plans for minimizing microbial hazards, and screen flight-grown produce for potential pathogens.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Our work on “Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System” focuses on the development of a fresh food production capability on the International Space Station. Using the Veggie hardware we will develop light and fertilizer combinations that will help to generate nutritious and appealing leafy green vegetables and dwarf tomatoes that astronauts can consume in a safe manner. The results of this research will be directly translatable to Earth-based controlled environment production of these and similar crops in vertical farms and urban plant factories.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2016 
Task Progress: Since the grant initiation on 09/01/2015 significant progress has been made. As part of the preliminary research leading to the start of the grant, Kennedy Space Center (KSC) personnel completed the down selection of leafy greens cultivars and tomato cultivars for testing and selected ‘Tokyo bekana’ Chinese cabbage and ‘Red Robin’ tomato as the best candidates for ILSRA testing and for growth in Veggie on the ISS. These down selections were based on growing eight leafy green candidates and six tomato candidates under ISS-relevant controlled environment conditions of temperature, relative humidity, and elevated CO2. Unlike the Veggie system, plants were grown in peat-based potting substrates with both controlled-release and liquid fertilizer, and plants were grown under broad-spectrum fluorescent lamps. Plants were assessed for growth habit, yield of edible biomass, and nutrient levels of edible biomass focusing on specific nutrients of interest for space (e.g., potassium, magnesium, zeaxanthin, lutein, and antioxidants). Cultivars were down-selected and the top subsets were regrown and samples sent to NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) for organoleptic analysis which, when coupled with the other data, led to the selection of the top candidates.

Numerous graduate student candidates were interviewed at Purdue University and a Masters Student, Sam Burgner, was selected to work on this project with his tenure beginning in August, 2015. Sam travelled to KSC in October, 2015, and learned the construction and operation of the Veggie analog systems. Planning and consultation among KSC, Purdue, and ORBITEC personnel along with Florikan fertilizer partners was carried out in September-November, 2015 to determine the optimum fertilizer formulations to test with selected crops. Based on the expertise of the team it was decided that Chinese cabbage would be tested with three different formulations of Nurtricote 18-6-8 controlled release fertilizer. Testing would examine the release rate of this fertilizer, with the three test scenarios being A) 180-day release, B) a 2:1 ratio of 180-day release to 100-day release, and C) a 1:1 ratio of 180-day release to 100-day release. For tomato the same release rates would be tested but instead of testing the 18-6-8 (N-P-K) fertilizer, the Nutricote 14-4-14 will be tested. Our fertilizer consultants recommended that equal levels of nitrogen and potassium would be best for a fruiting crop like tomato, while a leafy crop like Chinese cabbage, needs more nitrogen. In addition, tomatoes require extra calcium to prevent physiological disorders in the fruit, so the team decided to supplement the N-P-K fertilizer with calcium carbonate and calcium nitrate.

Light treatments were also selected, which included: A) 90% Red, 10% Blue, B) 70% Red, 30% Blue, C) 50% Red, 50% Blue, and D) a split treatment of 90% Red, 10% Blue followed by a change to 50% Red, 50% blue. In all cases, the Red and Blue light would be provided with LEDs (light emitting diodes), similar to the lighting system in Veggie. For the split treatment, the team decided to switch from high red to equal red: blue light after the plants had completed ¾ of their growth. The goal of the split treatment is to enhance nutrients prior to harvest. Chinese cabbage is scheduled to grow for 28 days and tomatoes are scheduled for 3 months.

ORBITEC outfitted six Biomass Production System for Education (BPSe) Veggie analog systems with LED lights and shipped them to Purdue University where they were set up in controlled environment growth chambers. Similarly, six BPSe systems with fluorescent lights belonging to Kennedy Space Center were retrofitted with LED lights and returned to KSC. These were long lead items and arrived at KSC in late December 2015 and at Purdue in January 2016. Systems are larger than the veggie on ISS but are similarly adjustable in height, so lights can be maintained at a set distance above plants and this height can be adjusted upwards as plants grow. For preliminary trials lights were maintained at 10 cm above plants. These BPSe systems were installed and calibrated at both locations in January and February of 2016. Calibration involved extensive light mapping at defined points beneath the light caps at the proposed light settings. Because BPSe units have slider controls for the light intensity rather than digital controls, these set points needed to be established. Quantum light meters and spectroradiometers were used for light mapping and for precise calibration of each light system. The units were also mapped out to ensure that as many plant rooting pillows as possible could be placed in each. The systems allowed 12 plant pillows for Chinese cabbage containing 180 mL of substrate and 6 of the larger pillows for tomato containing 360 mL of substrate. The first growth trial with Chinese cabbage was initiated at the week of 2/29-3/4/16 at both KSC and Purdue. This followed several weeks of preparation of the Veggie analog growth system and analog plant pillow manufacturing.

Trial 1 was conducted with the four light treatments and three fertilizer treatments with 144 total plants grown between KSC and Purdue. Plants were grown for 28 days and photographed, then harvested. Harvested plant material was measured, weighed, assessed for chlorophyll content and leaf area, and then either frozen for chemical analysis or processed for microbiological assessment. Frozen plants were freeze dried and tissue was ground and extracted. Plant pillows were also oven dried to obtain pH and conductivity readings of the substrate. After a short period for cleaning a second trial was conducted with re-randomization of the light and fertilizer treatments within each BPSe unit. The light treatments that had previously been replicated at Purdue were replicated at KSC in trial 2. Plants and pillows were treated similarly. Chemical analysis of these trials is still underway. KSC is analyzing specific elements of interest to astronaut health, and measurement of antioxidants, phenolics, and anthocyanins. Purdue University is conducting analysis of nitrates and nitrites. KSC also conducted microbiology assays for aerobic plate counts and total yeasts and molds from a subset of plants. Microbiological results from the first two trials indicated larger microbial loads than expected. Expectations were based on microbial levels previously observed with this species in testing for the Veg-03 demonstration flight in Veggie.

Data are being compiled for statistical analysis at this time. Results will allow us to down select from the 12 possible combinations of fertilizer and light to a goal of the top four or five options for future assessment. The next sets of assessments will be organoleptic evaluation at JSC and the costly Vitamin K analysis at an outside lab. During later growth and at final harvest, some symptoms of stress were noted in the Chinese cabbage plants grown in the BPSe units. This stress had not been observed in prior growth studies, and our hypothesis is that this cultivar of Chinese cabbage suffers in response to narrow spectrum radiation. Symptoms observed included chlorosis and speckled bleaching of leaves. The severity of symptoms appeared to vary with light treatment but not with fertilizer treatment. A scoring guide was developed to allow quantification of stress responses at the different locations. Treatments with higher levels of red light (90% Red, 10% blue and the split treatment) appeared to have the highest proportion of stressed leaves. Additionally stress responses increased dramatically in all treatments between day 22 and day 28 of growth.

It was decided to hold further trials of Chinese cabbage pending chemistry, statistical analysis, and further investigation into plant stress, and to instead conduct a trial of tomato in four systems both at Purdue and KSC. In the remaining two systems at Purdue troubleshooting efforts will attempt to diagnose the causes of plant stress. These tests are ongoing, focusing on light intensity levels and looking at substituting other wavelengths for red light. One hypothesis is that light of a lower intensity but spread out over a longer duration to provide the same daily light integral (DLI) might prevent the observed stress. In the remaining two systems at KSC, the focus will be to conduct microbiological testing of Chinese cabbage. These tests are also on-going and our team is looking at seed surface sterilization and media sterilization as methods to reduce overall microbial loads. These sterilization techniques are used for spaceflight and will be used during future flight experimentation, so isolating the critical control points at this time is the goal of this testing. Meanwhile, ORBITEC has prepared their plant growth rooms for subsequent larger growth trials. These rooms will be used to conduct large capacity growth studies of selected light and fertilizer conditions, where harvested produce will be shipped to JSC for organoleptic evaluation or freeze dried and ground for Vitamin K evaluation.

Initial preparations are underway for flight tests of these crops following ground, down-selection of fertilizer and light. JSC behavioral health and performance Co-I Tom Williams is assessing appropriate crew surveys and IRB (Institutional Review Board) requirements. The KSC Veggie team has begun coordinating with the Human Research Program (HRP) to start planning the on-orbit testing. A second Veggie unit will be launched to the ISS and co-located near the current unit, which will allow side by side testing of two independent light treatments in ISS. This is a significant improvement on the initially proposed subsequent testing because environmental conditions for the two treatments will be identical. The Chinese cabbage test has been preliminarily planned as Veg-04, with the tomato test book kept as Veg-05. Due to issues with the current Veggie watering system providing insufficient water for longer duration crop studies it has been decided that Veg-04 and Veg-05 are on hold until a new Veggie watering system capable of sustaining the plants can be developed.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 05/06/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Massa GD, Hummerick ME, Douglas GL, Wheeler RM. "Weaving Together Space Biology and the Human Research Program: Selecting Crops and Manipulating Plant Physiology to Produce High Quality Food for ISS Astronauts." Symposium on translational research between SLPS and HRP, 31st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, Alexandria, VA, November 11-14, 2015.

31st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research, Alexandria, VA, November 11-14, 2015. , Nov-2015

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Massa GD, Wheeler RM, Morrow RC, Levine HG. "Growth chambers on the International Space Station for large plants." Acta Hortic. 2016 May;1134:215-22. http://dx.doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1134.29 , May-2016
Project Title:  Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2015 
Division: Human Research, Space Biology 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Space Biology: Plant Biology  
Start Date: 09/01/2015  
End Date: 08/31/2018  
Task Last Updated: 08/12/2015 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Massa, Gioia  Ph.D. / NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Address:  ISS Ground Processing and Research 
Mail Code UB-A-00 
Kennedy Space Center , FL 32899-0001 
Email: gioia.massa@nasa.gov 
Phone: 321-861-2938  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Douglas, Grace  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Hummerick, Mary  M.S. Qinetiq North America, Inc. 
Mitchell, Cary  Ph.D. Purdue University 
Morrow, Robert  Ph.D. Orbital Technologies Corporation 
Ploutz-Snyder, Robert  Ph.D. Universities Space Research Association 
Wheeler, Raymond  Ph.D. NASA Kennedy Space Center 
Whitmire, Alexandra  Ph.D. Wyle/NASA Johnson Space Center 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Internal Project 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Douglas, Grace  
Center Contact:  
grace.l.douglas@nasa.gov 
Solicitation: 2013-14 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-ILSRA. International Life Sciences Research Announcement 
Grant/Contract No.: Internal Project 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) Food:Risk of Performance Decrement and Crew Illness Due to an Inadequate Food System
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed03:We need to identify and quantify the key threats to and promoters of mission relevant behavioral health and performance during autonomous, long duration and/or long distance exploration missions (IRP Rev F)
(2) Food-03:We need to identify the methods, technologies, and requirements that will deliver a food system that provides adequate safety, nutrition, and acceptability for proposed long-duration Design Reference Mission operations. (IRP Rev G) (Previous title: AFT4-What technologies can be developed that will efficiently balance appropriate vehicle resources such as mass, volume, and crew time during exploration missions with the safety, nutrition, and acceptability requirements?)
Space Biology Element: (1) Plant Biology
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: (1) Bioregenerative Life Support
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: Period of performance changed to 9/01/2015-8/31/2018 (previously 7/1/15-6/30/18) per G. Douglas/HRP (Ed., 4/3/16)

Task Description: The capability to grow nutritious, palatable food for crew consumption during spaceflight has the potential to provide health promoting, bioavailable nutrients, enhance the dietary experience, and reduce launch mass as we move toward longer-duration missions. However, studies of edible produce during spaceflight have been limited, leaving a significant knowledge gap in the methods required to grow safe, acceptable, nutritious crops for consumption in microgravity. The “Veggie” vegetable-production system on the International Space Station (ISS) offers an opportunity to develop a “pick-and-eat” fresh vegetable component to the ISS food system as a first step to bioregenerative supplemental food production. We propose growing salad plants in the Veggie unit during spaceflight, focusing on the impact of light quality and fertilizer formulation on crop morphology, edible biomass yield, microbial food safety, organoleptic acceptability, nutritional value, and behavioral health benefits of the fresh produce. Phase A of the project would involve flight tests using leafy greens. Phase B would focus on dwarf tomato. Our work will help define light colors, levels, and horticultural best practices to achieve high yields of safe, nutritious leafy greens and tomatoes to supplement a space diet of prepackaged food. Our final deliverable will be the development of growth protocols for these crops in a spaceflight vegetable production system.

Specific aim 1: Evaluate the effects of four light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of leafy greens during flight-definition and flight testing.

Specific aim 2: Perform cultivar selection and evaluate the effects of four different red: blue light treatments and two different fertilizer compositions on the yield, morphology, organoleptic acceptability, and nutritional attributes of dwarf tomato during ground and flight tests.

Specific aim 3: Perform hazard analysis, develop plans for minimizing microbial hazards, and screen flight-grown produce for potential pathogens.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2015 
Task Progress: New project for FY2015.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 05/06/2020)  Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2015