The Woodlands, Texas Martian dirt may contain all that is necessary Nutrients for Rice Growing, one of mankind’s most important foods, planetary scientist Abhilash Ramachandran reported March 13 at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. However, the plant may need a little help surviving amid perchlorate, a chemical that can be toxic to plants and found on the surface of Mars ,Sn: 11/18/20,
“We want to send humans to Mars … but we can’t move everything there. It’s going to be expensive,” says Ramachandran of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. It would be ideal to grow rice there, he says. Because it’s easy to prepare. “You just peel off the husk and start boiling.”
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Ramachandran and his colleagues grew rice plants in a Martian soil simulant The Mojave Desert is made of basalt. He also grew rice in pure potting mix as well as in several mixtures of potting mix and soil simulant. Water was added to all the pots once or twice a day.
The team found that rice plants thrive in artificial Mars dirt. However, the plants developed thinner shoots and wispier roots than those grown in the potting mix and hybrid soil. Even replacing just 25 percent of the humus with potting mix helped the mounds, they found.
The researchers also tried growing rice in soil with added perchlorate. They created a wild rice variety and two cultivars with genetic mutations – modified for flexibility against environmental stresses like drought – and grew them in Mars-like dirt with and without perchlorate (Sn: 9/24/21,
No rice plants could grow at a concentration of 3 grams of perchlorate per kilogram of soil. But when the concentration was only 1 gram per kilogram, one of the mutant lines developed both a shoot and a root, while the wild variety managed to develop a single root.
The findings suggest that by tinkering with the modified genes of the successful mutant, SnRK1aHumans may eventually be able to develop rice cultivars suitable for Mars.