Study of the effect of biofertilizers on the germination rate of edible plants of interest in a Martian soil substrate.
During my studies, a strong emphasis is given to plant biology and physiology, and I am familiar with plant experiments and the work environment of greenhouses. I will therefore direct my research to help find a solution to the great question of: the supply of food for a crew that would live in complete autarky on Mars.
To analyze the growth of edible plants, there are a lot of parameters that we could be interested in : biotics factors (use of biofertilizers, impact of no soil fauna on plant development and decomposition of organic matter) and abiotic factors (low temperatures and pressure, reduced oxygen, perchlorate-rich soil as on Mars, growth in “rocky soil” sampled in the field). But to have a precise goal and due to the total absence of fauna in the Martian soil, I chose to focus my research on the use of biofertilizers (composed of microorganisms) on the germination rate of edible plant species of interest, such as Solanum tuberosum (potato) (good nutritional intake of starch and fiber) or alfalfa and tomato. Indeed, the number of seeds available at the start of space missions must be profitable and losses must be avoided as much as possible.
The aim of the experiment will be to analyze how, in a Mars station, a closed environment like the MDRS station and with a Martian regolith – like substrate, we can, thanks to biofertilizers in small quantities, fill the caloric intake of a crew. If time and space at the station allow it, I will also conduct experiments concerning biotic and / or abiotic variables mentioned above.