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Current and potential productivity of wheat for a Controlled Environment Life Support System

, : Current and potential productivity of wheat for a Controlled Environment Life Support System. Advances in Space Research 9(8): 5-15

The productivity of higher plants is determined by the incident photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) and the efficiency of the following four physiological processes: absorption of PPF by photosynthetic tissue, carbon fixation (photosynthesis), carbon use (respiration), and carbon partitioning (harvest index). These constituent processes are analyzed to determine theoretical and potentially achievable productivity. The effects of optimal environmental and cultural factors on each of these four factors is also analyzed. Results indicate that an increase in the percentage of absorbed photons is responsible for most of the improvement in wheat yields in an optimal controlled environment. Several trials confirm that there is an almost linear increase in wheat yields with increasing PPF. An integrated PPF of 150 mol m-2 d-1 (2.5 times summer sunlight) has produced 60 g m-2 d-1 of grain. Apparently, yield would continue to increase with even higher PPF's. Energy efficiency increased with PPF to about 600 micromoles m-2 s-1, then slowly decreased. We are now seeking to improve efficiency at intermediate PPF levels (1000 micromoles m-2 s-1) before further exploring potential productivity. At intermediate and equal integrated daily PPF levels, photoperiod had little effect on yield per day or energy efficiency. Decreasing temperature from 23 degrees to 17 degrees increased yield per day by 20% but increased the life cycle from 62 to 89 days. We hope to achieve both high productivity and energy efficiency.


PMID: 11537390

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