Growth and development, and auxin polar transport in higher plants under microgravity conditions in space: BRIC-AUX on STS-95 space experiment

J Plant Res. 1999 Dec;112(1108):487-92. doi: 10.1007/pl00013904.


The principal objectives of the space experiment, BRIC-AUX on STS 95, were the integrated analysis of the growth and development of etiolated pea and maize seedlings in space and a study of the effects of microgravity conditions in space on auxin polar transport in these segments. Microgravity significantly affected the growth and development of etiolated pea and maize seedlings. Epicotyls of etiolated pea seedlings were the most oriented toward about 40 to 60 degrees from the vertical. Mesocotyls of etiolated maize seedlings were curved at random during space flight but coleoptiles were almost straight. Finally the growth inhibition of these seedlings in space was also observed. Roots of some pea seedlings grew toward to the aerial space of Plant Growth Chamber. Extensibilities of cell walls of the third internode of etiolated pea epicotyls and the top region of etiolated maize coleoptiles, which were germinated and grown under microgravity conditions in space, were significantly low as compared with those grown on the ground of the earth. Activities of auxin polar transport in the second internode segments of etiolated pea seedlings and coleoptile segments of etiolated maize seedlings were significantly inhibited and promoted, respectively, under microgravity conditions in space. These results strongly suggest that auxin polar transport as well as the growth and development of plants is controlled under gravity on the earth.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cell Wall / physiology
  • Cotyledon / cytology
  • Cotyledon / growth & development
  • Cotyledon / metabolism
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism*
  • Peas / cytology
  • Peas / growth & development*
  • Peas / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Shoots / cytology
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development
  • Plant Shoots / metabolism*
  • Space Flight*
  • Weightlessness*
  • Zea mays / cytology
  • Zea mays / growth & development*
  • Zea mays / metabolism


  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • indoleacetic acid