Culturing immobilized plant cells for the TUBUL space experiments on the DELTA and 12S Missions

B. Sieberer, A.M.C. Emons, J.W. Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract For the TUBUL experiments during the DELTA mission in April 2004 and 12S mission in March/April 2006 on board the Soyuz capsule and the International Space Station we developed a method to culture and chemically fix plant suspension culture cells. The aim of the ten day experiment was to investigate the effect of microgravity on single plant cells. Fully automated experiment cassettes (Plunger Box Units) were developed by Centre for Concepts in Mechatronics (Nuenen, the Netherlands). Tobacco BY- 2 cells were immobilized in a semi- solid agarose matrix that was reinforced by a nylon mesh. This assembly allowed liquid medium refreshment, oxygen supply and chemical fixation, including a post- fixative wash. The method was optimized for post- flight analysis of cell structure,shape and size, cell division, and the microtubule cytoskeleton. The viability of cells in the agarose matrix was similar to cells grown in liquid medium under laboratory conditions, only the stationary growth phase was reached six days later
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-195
Number of pages4
JournalMicrogravity - Science and Technology
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • microtubules

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