The construction of a colony of Earthmen outside of our planet rests on one very serious problem: the lack of resources for food, agriculture and, of course, oxygen. All these problems could be solved if the earth’s flora can grow beyond the third planet from the Sun, but numerous experiments suggests that it is not. However, the group of experts from Switzerland were able to find a way to modify plants so that they remain viable beyond Earth.
For the study are scientists from Zurich University led by biologist Lorenzo Borghi. Of course, the above problems could be solved with the delivery of soil and nutrient mixtures on other planets, but the Borg and his colleagues believe that it is extremely impractical. First, it will drain the already endless resources of the Earth, and secondly — this is an extremely expensive event. As told by Mr Borg in an interview with Digital Trends,
“Food production is likely to be big issue in coming decades in Association with increasing population, decreasing arable land and limited resources of fertilizer. Food production in laboratory conditions or in the territories of other planets will be extremely difficult as they are likely to be much poorer in nutrients compared to our farmland.”
To overcome such limitations, scientists propose to modify plants using a special hormone that will cause one to enter into a symbiotic relationship with fungi of the soil. Such a relationship exists in nature, but the spread is not so much. It provides more complete absorption of resources like water, nitrogen and phosphates and helps both organisms (and plants and fungi) to survive in those conditions in which alone they would have died.
Using hormone strigolactone, scientists have deduced the form of Petunia, which is not only great lives in symbiosis with the fungi, but also requires the development of an extremely small amount of soil and nutrients, because in this symbiosis the fungi create a “simulated soil”.
“We tested our plants and found that they can get a high level of substances and continue to grow even in microgravity. Therefore, we expect that these plants may become a major factor for agriculture on other planets and during long missions on the space Shuttle.”
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