ETHYLENE EVOLUTION BY CROP STANDS GROWN IN A CLOSED, CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT

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  • 1 NASA Biomedical Operations and Research Office (rmw, jcs, wmk), The Bionetics Corp. (bav, swm), Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
  • 2 Department Plant Soil Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (kac)

Ethylene concentrations were monitored using gas chromatography (GC/PID) throughout growth and development of wheat, soybean, and lettuce stands grown hydroponically inside a large, closed growth chamber (20 m2 area, 113 m3 vol.). For wheat (cv. Yecora Rojo), ethylene concentration increased from < 10 ppb to about 120 ppb at about 28 days after planting (pre-anthesis) and then declined sharply over the next 4 weeks to a plateau of about 10 ppb during canopy maturation and senescence. A similar pattern of evolution was measured for soybean stands (cv. McCall), with peak concentrations of 40 to 70 ppb occurring near 50 days after planting. Unlike wheat, a slight increase in ethylene was noted in the latter stages of soybean stand senescence. For lettuce stands (cv. Waldmann's Green), ethylene increased slowly to 10 to 15 ppb by 24 days after planting, and then rose sharply to 40 ppb by 28 days, when plants were harvested. Data will be used to define ranges for phytotoxicity studies and to project atmospheric contaminant control needs for tightly closed plant growth systems.

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