Pick-and-Eat Salad-Crop Productivity, Nutritional Value, and Acceptability to Supplement the ISS Food System (ARC00XX183)
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.
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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.
Horticultural and Nutritional evaluation results will be made available post-flight.
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