The World Smallest Plants (Wolffia Sp.) as Potential Species for Bioregenerative Life Support Systems in Space

Plants (Basel). 2021 Sep 13;10(9):1896. doi: 10.3390/plants10091896.

ABSTRACT

To colonise other planets, self-sufficiency of space missions is mandatory. To date, the most promising technology to support long-duration missions is the bioregenerative life support system (BLSS), in which plants as autotrophs play a crucial role in recycling wastes and producing food and oxygen. We reviewed the scientific literature on duckweed (Lemnaceae) and reported available information on plant biological traits, nutritional features, biomass production, and space applications, especially of the genus Wolffia. Results confirmed that the smallest existing higher plants are the best candidate for space BLSS. We discussed needs for further research before criticalities to be addressed to finalise the adoption of Wolffia species for space missions.

PMID:34579428 | DOI:10.3390/plants10091896

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