Aquacells — Flagellates under long-term microgravity and potential usage for life support systems

  • Donat-P. HäderEmail author
  • Peter R. Richter
  • S. M. Strauch
  • M. Schuster


The motile behavior of the unicellular photosynthetic flagellate Euglena gracilis was studied during a two-week mission on the Russian satellite Foton M2. The precision of gravitactic orientation was high before launch and, as expected, the cells were unoriented during microgravity. While after previous short-term TEXUS flights the precision of orientation was as high as before launch, it took several hours for the organisms to regain their gravitaxis. Also the percentage of motile cells and the swimming velocity of the remaining motile cells were considerably lower than in the ground control. In preparatory experiments the flagellate Euglena was shown to produce considerable amounts of photosynthetically generated oxygen. In a coupling experiment in a prototype for a planned space mission on Foton M3, the photosynthetic producers were shown to supply sufficient amounts of oxygen to a fish compartment with 35 larval cichlids, Oreochromis mossambicus.


Motile Cell Life Support System Swimming Velocity Euglena Gracilis Oreochromis Mossambicus 
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Copyright information

© Z-Tec Publishing 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donat-P. Häder
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter R. Richter
    • 1
  • S. M. Strauch
    • 1
  • M. Schuster
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Biologie der Friedrich-Alexander-UniversitätErlangenGermany

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