Bacteria discovered in International Space Station; suggests plant growth in space: UoH, NASA study


The involvement of genes involved in fostering plant growth was discovered in the genomes of Methylobacterium ajmalii strains.

Bacteria discovered in International Space Station; suggests plant growth in space: UoH, NASA study says. Let’s read below to know more.

According to a recent report by researchers from the University of Hyderabad (UoH) and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), among other institutions, the discovery of a novel bacterial strain aboard the International Space Station (ISS) indicates the prospect of astronauts cultivating vegetables while in space.

Bacteria in International Space Station

The new bacterial strains found aboard the ISS flights could assist in the development of “fuel” to help plants dealing with such stressful circumstances. The study’s results were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

Dr Kasthuri Venkateswaran of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, C.C. Wang of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction, Professor Appa Rao Podile of the University of Hyderabad (UoH) with specialisation in plant growth-promoting bacteria and plant microbiome, and Dr Ramprasad, a CSIR-pool Scientist, led the research teams.

Also Read: Indian-origin scientist controls $3 billion worth NASA’s Mars rover mission from his London apartment

Bacterial strains from the Methylobacteriaceae family were collected from multiple locations aboard the ISS throughout two flights.

Although one of the strains was found to be Methylorubrum rhodesianum, the remaining three were previously unknown and belonged to a new genus.

They are closely related to Methylobacterium Indicum, according to genetic analysis.

The new species was given the name Methylobacterium ajmalii by the researchers in honour of Dr Ajmal Khan, a renowned Indian biodiversity scientist and former Professor at Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu.

The involvement of genes involved in fostering plant growth was discovered in the genomes of Methylobacterium ajmalii strains.

The lead authors reflected on the discovery and said that based on the genomic results, the strains may have bio-technologically useful genetic determinants that might help grow plants in remote areas with limited resources.

However, further experimental validations are being carried out to show that it may be a game-changer for space farming.

More promising discoveries in partnership with NASA’s JPL are on the horizon for the writer.


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