Cytological and Ultrastructural Studies on Root Tissues
AbstractAbstract The anatomy and fine structure of roots from oat and mung bean seedlings, grown under microgravity conditions for 8 days aboard the Space Shuttle, was examined and compared to that of roots from ground control plants grown under similar conditions. Roots from both sets of oat seedlings exhibited characteristic monocotyledonous tissue organization and normal ultrastructural features, except for cortex cell mitochondria, which exhibited a ‘swollen’ morphology. Various stages of cell division were observed in the meristematic tissues of oat roots. Ground control and flight-grown mung bean roots also showed normal tissue organization, but root cap cells in the flight-grown roots were collapsed and degraded in appearance, especially at the cap periphery. At the ultrastructural level, these cells exhibited a loss of organelle integrity and a highly-condensed cytoplasm. This latter observation perhaps suggests a differing tissue sensitivity for the two species to growth conditions employed in space flight. The basis for abnormal root cap cell development is not understood, but the loss of these putative gravity-sensing cells holds potential significance for long term plant growth orientation during space flight.