The biophysical limitations in physiological transport and exchange in plants grown in microgravity

J Plant Growth Regul. 2002 Jun;21(2):177-90. doi: 10.1007/s003440010054. Epub 2002 May 24.


This paper describes how changes in the physical behavior of fluids and gases in microgravity can limit the physiological transport and exchange in higher plants. These types of effects are termed indirect effects of microgravity because they are not due to gravity interacting with the mass of the plant body itself. The impact of limiting gravity-dependent transport phenomena has been analyzed by the use of mathematical modeling to simulate and compare biophysical transport in the 1g and spaceflight environments. These data clearly show that the microgravity environment induces significant limitations on basic physiological and biochemical processes within the aerial and rootzone portions of the plant. Furthermore, this mathematical model provides a solid foundation for explaining the physiological effects that have been noted in past spaceflight experiments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Movements
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics*
  • Convection
  • Gravitation
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Plant Development*
  • Plant Leaves / enzymology
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / enzymology
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Plants / enzymology
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Space Flight*
  • Weightlessness*


  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Oxygen