Bioxtreme - Taking root in space communities
Main objectives Developing two plant-based platforms for the production of bioactive molecules. Plants and roots of a tomato cultivar called ‘Microtom’ represent ‘ideotypes’ with extremely favorable characteristics as‘Bioregerative Life Support’);Examining the biological effects of the application of physical conditions of ‘challenge’ while mimicking the actual situation of the cosmos. Changes in the normal physiology of living plant material in extreme conditions will be analyzed according to SystemsOptimizing the production of recombinant bioactive molecules of proven microbicide ability (antibacterial and antifungal polypeptides and antibodies);Studying the effect of treatment with recombinant immunostimulatory (flagellin) in animal models with radio-induced immunosuppression;Developing ‘ready-made’ pharmaceuticalsfor early intervention in Space conditions. Platforms & Facilities Multiple cutting-edge platforms of molecular biology, biochemistry, plant and animal cell biology support ongoing projects. Notably, a fully equipped proteomic platform based on DIGE (Differential In-Gel Electrophoresis) and a contained greenhouse (Biosafety Level 2 Containment) designed to be a complete and compact solution for growing plants expressing high value-added biopharmaceuticals. Taking root in space communities Advances in horticulture research, such as in hydroponics, allow farming in places once thought impossible. The most extreme place is a spacecraft where research is active to individuate plants able to provide directly safe food and medicines. In the framework of the BIOxTREME project funded by ASI (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana) we are now exploring the potential of plants as “dual” source of anti- oxidant nutriceuticals and microbicide/immunostimulant biopharmaceuticals. To operate in this fields, a task of ENEA scientists with different expertise and backgrounds is involved in the attempt to mimic the extreme environmental conditions of the space (namely, ionizing and non-ionizing radiations, microgravity, altered light and photoperiod conditions, ect.) finding countermeasures to adverse effects of the non-natural conditions of life on Space.