International Space Station (ISS) astronauts will try to improve the process by which a 'clover like' naturally occurring bacteria fertilises plants on the basis of the new scientific knowledge generated by an EU-funded project. The research is expected to lead to a reduction in the use of synthetic fertilizers. The space mission is planned for next year.
The project selected for this coming ISS mission, entitled 'Symbiotic Nodulation in a Reduced Gravity Environment' (SyNRGE II) and supported by the Marie Curie Actions, was led by Professor Gary Stutte, who has done extensive work on researching plants in space. He is based at the Controlled Environment Laboratory for Life Science of the Limerick Institute, in Ireland.
His work was chosen by the Space Florida International Space Station (ISS) Research Competition, which was open to commercial and academic research programmes across the globe. The project was one of just eight finally selected to be tested by astronauts on the ISS over a five-week period next year.
More information: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1130/1224327302507.html