Spore coat of liverworts: potential candidate for future space suits
Future space suits require greater mobility as mars exploration is proposed by NASA and other space agencies. Currently space suits are designed for zero gravity and low gravity situations. Such space suits will be unviable when used at Mars and will make them less mobile in high gravity situations. Space suits need to be radiation resistant, heat resistant and possess high tensile strength, while being light weight, to encounter high radiations and cosmic neutrons. Liverworts spores have thick spore coat around them which is present to save them from harsh environmental conditions and for greater mobility (being lightweight). They were designed in such a way to protect germplasm from dying in harsh conditions. Liverworts spores consists of sporopollenin and cutin, made of phenolic acids p-coumaric (pCA) and ferulic acid (FA) are proven to be UV resistant and even found in areas where ozone layer is depleted. Sporopollenin is even resistant to acetolysis, heat and desiccation. Manipulation of metabolic pathways involved in synthesis of sporopollenin and cutin and large scale production by involving gene cloning and tissue culture can lead to their large scale production, by bioreactors and optimizing bioprocesses we can enhance their large scale synthesis and can use to manufacture space suits.
Published: 7 Feb, 2016