Skip to content
BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access February 11, 2017

Mechanical Stimulation Modifies Canopy Architecture and Improves Volume Utilization Efficiency in Bell Pepper: Implications for Bioregenerative Life-support and Vertical Farming

Thomas Graham and Raymond Wheeler
From the journal Open Agriculture

Abstract

Mechanical stimuli or stress has been shown to induce characteristic morphogenic responses (thigmomorphogenesis) in a range of crop species. The typical mechanically stimulated phenotype is shorter and more compact than non-mechanically stimulated plants. This dwarfing effect can be employed to help conform crop plants to the constraints of spaceflight and vertical agriculture crop production systems. Capsicum annum (cv. California Wonder) plants were grown in controlled environment chambers and subjected to mechanical stimulation in the form of firm but gentle daily rubbing of internode tissue with a tightly wrapped cotton swab. Two studies were conducted, the first being a vegetative growth phase study in which plants were mechanically stimulated until anthesis. The second study carried the mechanical stimulation through to fruit set. The response during the vegetative growth experiment was consistent with other results in the literature, with a general reduction in all plant growth metrics and an increase in relative chlorophyll (SPAD) content under mechanical stimulation. In the fruiting phase study, only height and stem thickness differed from the control plants. Using the data from the fruiting study, a rudimentary calculation of volume use efficiency (VUE) improvements was conducted. Results suggest that VUE can be improved, particularly in terrestrial vertical agriculture systems that can take advantage of moderate height reductions by exploiting much greater vertical capacity in the production system. Mechanical stimulation can also improve VUE in spaceflight applications by reducing vertical system requirements or by expanding the species range that can be grown in a fixed production volume. Mechanical stimulation is also discussed as a microgravity countermeasure for crop plants.

References

Akers SW., Mitchell CA., Seismic stress effects on reproductive structures of tomato, potato, and marigold. Hortscience, 1985, 20(4):684-86Search in Google Scholar

Anten NPR., Wettberg von EJ., Pawlowski M., Huber H., Interactive Effects of Spectral Shading and Mechanical Stress on the Expression and Costs of Shade Avoidance. The American Naturalist, 2009, 173(2):241-5510.1086/595761Search in Google Scholar

Baldwin KM., White TP., Arnaud SB., Edgerton VR., Kraemer WJ., et al., Musculoskeletal adaptations to weightlessness and development of effective countermeasures. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 1996, 28(10):1247-5310.1097/00005768-199610000-00007Search in Google Scholar

Beyl CA., Mitchell CA., Automated mechanical stress application for height control of greenhouse Chrysanthemum. Hortscience, 1977, 12(6):575-77Search in Google Scholar

Beyl CA., Mitchell CA., Alteration of growth, exudation rate, and endogenous hormone profiles in mechanically dwarfed sunflower. J. Am. Soc. Hortic. Sci., 1983, 108(2):257-62Search in Google Scholar

Biddington NL., The effects of mechanically-induced stress in plants-a review. Plant Growth Regulation, 1986, 4(2):103-2310.1007/BF00025193Search in Google Scholar

Biddington NL., Dearman AS., The effect of mechanically indiced stress on the growth of cauliflower, lettuce,and celery seedlings. Annals of Botany, 1985, 55:109-1910.1093/oxfordjournals.aob.a086869Search in Google Scholar

Braam J., In touch: plant responses to mechanical stimuli. New Phytol., 2005, 165(2):373-8910.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01263.xSearch in Google Scholar

Braam J., Davis RW., Rain-, wind-, and touch-induced expression of calmodulin and calmodulin-related genes in Arabidopsis. Cell, 1990, 60(3):357-36410.1016/0092-8674(90)90587-5Search in Google Scholar

Chehab EW, Eich E, Braam J., Thigmomorphogenesis: a complex plant response to mechano-stimulation. J Exp Bot., 2008, 60(1):43-5610.1093/jxb/ern315Search in Google Scholar

Darwin CR. 1880. The Power of Movement in Plants. New York: D. Appleton and Company10.5962/bhl.title.102319Search in Google Scholar

de Micco V, Aronne G, Joseleau J-P, Ruel K., Xylem development and cell wall changes of soybean seedlings grown in space. Annals of Botany, 2008, 101(5):661-6910.1093/aob/mcn001Search in Google Scholar

Drysdale AE, Ewert MK, Hanford AJ., Life support approaches for Mars missions. Advances in Space Research, 2003, 13(1):51-6110.1016/S0273-1177(02)00658-0Search in Google Scholar

Erwin J, Velguth P, Heins R., Day/night temperature environment affects cell elongation but not division in Lilium longiflorum Thunb. J Exp Bot., 1994, 45(7):1019-2510.1093/jxb/45.7.1019Search in Google Scholar

Ferl R, Wheeler R, Levine HG, Paul A-L., Plants in space. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 2002, 5(3):258-6310.1016/S1369-5266(02)00254-6Search in Google Scholar

Guy C., Odeh R., Gardening for Therapeutic People-Plant Interactions during Long-Duration Space Missions. 2016, Open Agriculture (Topical Issue ‘Agriculture in Space’). Accepted.10.1515/opag-2017-0001Search in Google Scholar

Ghosh A, Chikara J, Chaudhary DR, Prakash AR, Boricha G, Zala A., Paclobutrazol Arrests Vegetative Growth and Unveils Unexpressed Yield Potential of Jatropha curcas. J Plant Growth Regul., 2010, 29(3):307-1510.1007/s00344-010-9137-0Search in Google Scholar

Goto E., Plant Production in a Closed Plant Factory with Artificial Lighting. Acta Horticulturae, 2012, (956):37-4910.17660/ActaHortic.2012.956.2Search in Google Scholar

Graham T, Wheeler R., Root restriction: A tool for improving volume utilization efficiency in bioregenerative life-support systems. Life Sciences in Space Research, 2016, 9(2016):62-6810.1016/j.lssr.2016.04.001Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Hollender CA, Hadiarto T, Srinivasan C, Scorza R, Dardick C., A brachytic dwarfism trait (dw) in peach trees is caused by a nonsense mutation within the gibberellic acid receptor PpeGID1c. New Phytol., 2015, 2015:1-1310.1111/nph.13772Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Hoson T., Plant Growth and Morphogenesis under Different Gravity Conditions: Relevance to Plant Life in Space. Life, 2014, 4(2):205-1610.3390/life4020205Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

Jaffe MJ., Thigmomorphogenesis: The response of plant growth and development to mechanical stimulation. Planta, 1973, 114(2):143-5710.1007/BF00387472Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Jones RS, Mitchell CA., Effects of physical agitation on yield of greenhouse-grown soybean. Crop science, 1992, 32(2):404-810.2135/cropsci1992.0011183X003200020025xSearch in Google Scholar

Kliss M, Heyenga AG, Hoehn A, Stodieck LS., Recent advances in technologies required for a “Salad Machine.” Advances in Space Research, 2000, 26(2):263-6910.1016/S0273-1177(99)00570-0Search in Google Scholar

Latimer JG., Pepper transplants are excessively damaged by brushing. Hortscience, 1994, 29(9):1002-100310.21273/HORTSCI.29.9.1002Search in Google Scholar

Latimer JG, Johjima T, Harada K., The effect of mechanical stress on transplant growth and subsequent yield of four cultivars of cucumber. Scientia Horticulturae, 1991, 47(3-4):221-3010.1016/0304-4238(91)90005-JSearch in Google Scholar

Latimer JG, Pappas T, Mitchell CA., Growth responses of eggplant and soybean seedlings to mechanical stress in greenhouse and outdoor environments. J. Am. Soc. Hortic. Sci., 1986, 111(5):694-98Search in Google Scholar

Levine LH, Heyenga AG, Levine HG, Choi J, Davin LB, et al., Cell-wall architecture and lignin composition of wheat developed in a microgravity environment. Phytochemistry, 2001, 57(6):835-4610.1016/S0031-9422(01)00148-0Search in Google Scholar

Liang Y-C, Reid MS, Jiang C-Z., Controlling plant architecture by manipulation of gibberellic acid signalling in petunia. Horticulture Research, 2014, 1:1406110.1038/hortres.2014.61Search in Google Scholar

Massa GD, Newsham G, Hummerick ME, Caro JL, Stutte GW, et al., Preliminary species and media selection for the Veggie space hardware. Gravitational and Space Research, 2013, 1(1):95-10610.2478/gsr-2013-0008Search in Google Scholar

Matía I, González-Camacho F, Herranz R, Kiss JZ, Gasset G, et al., Plant cell proliferation and growth are altered by microgravity conditions in spaceflight. Journal of Plant Physiology, 2010, 167(3):184-9310.1016/j.jplph.2009.08.012Search in Google Scholar

Mitchell C., NASA launches a new experiment to explore how plants react to stress. Horticulture, 1977, 9:10-13Search in Google Scholar

Mitchell CA., Bioregenerative life-support systems. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 1994, 60(5):820S-824S10.1093/ajcn/60.5.820SSearch in Google Scholar

Mitchell CA., Recent advances in plant response to mechanical stress: theory and application. Hortscience, 1996, 31(1):31-3510.21273/HORTSCI.31.1.31Search in Google Scholar

Mitchell CA., Modification of plant growth and development by acceleration and vibration: Concerns and opportunities for plant experimentation in orbiting spacecraft. Advances in Space Research, 1992, 12(1):219-2510.1016/0273-1177(92)90286-7Search in Google Scholar

Mitchell CA., Myers PN., Mechanical stress regulation of plant growth and development. Janick J. ed. Horticultural Reviews, 1995. 17:1-34.10.1002/9780470650585.ch1Search in Google Scholar

Mitchell CA, Severson CJ, Wott JA, Hammer PA., Seismomorphogenic regulation of plant growth [Mechanical stress effects on tomatoes and peas]. J. Am. Soc. Hortic. Sci., 1975, 100(2):161-65Search in Google Scholar

Monshausen GB, Haswell ES., A force of nature: molecular mechanisms of mechanoperception in plants. J Exp Bot., 2013, 64(15):4663-8010.1093/jxb/ert204Search in Google Scholar

Ruyters G, Braun M., Plant biology in space: recent accomplishments and recommendations for future research. Plant Biol J., 2013, 16:4-1110.1111/plb.12127Search in Google Scholar

Weinig C, Delph LF., Phenotypic plasticity early in life constrains developmental responses later. Evolution., 2001, 55(5):930-3610.1554/0014-3820(2001)055[0930:PPEILC]2.0.CO;2Search in Google Scholar

Wheeler RM., Plants for Human Life Support in Space: From Myers to Mars. Gravitational and Space Biology, 2010, 23(2):25-36Search in Google Scholar

Wheeler, R M. and Sager, J C., “Crop Production for Advanced Life Support Systems” (2006). Technical Reports. Paper 1. h p:// docs.lib.purdue.edu/nasatr/1Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2016-12-21
Accepted: 2017-1-31
Published Online: 2017-2-11
Published in Print: 2017-2-1

© 2017

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

Scroll Up Arrow