Dec 8, 2022
Profile Products participates in tomato trials – in space

Consider it the ultimate in controlled environment agriculture.

For the first time, tomatoes are being grown at the International Space Station (ISS). The Red Robin cherry tomato plants arrived at the ISS on Nov. 26 as part of the SpaceX CRS-26 cargo mission, according to a news release. The tomatoes are being grown as part of a NASA study on providing astronauts on long space exploration missions with healthy, fresh foods.

The tomatoes will be grown in Profile Products Porous Ceramics and Florikan controlled-release fertilizer (CRF), also from Profile Products.

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The Red Robin tomatoes will be fertilized with a proprietary blend of Florikan CRF 14-4-14 T 180 day and T 100 day. The blend will be supplemented with a Florikan high potassium flowering special 0-0-19+9% Mg T 70 day flowering plant finisher in a controlled release fertilizer matrix. The ceramic provides the plant with a stabilized growing media to enhance the root zone for improved germination, increase oxygen levels, and improve water and nutrient retention, according to a news release.

As part of a controlled experiment on earth, the tomatoes are being grown with the same fertilizer and Profile Porous Ceramics blend at school and home gardens, and the Kennedy Space Center ground control labs.

The space and earth crops will be compared to measure the effects of a zero-gravity environment on tomato growth. This will serve as a means to promote best management practices for sustainable agriculture on Earth.

“Whether on Earth or in space, our agriscience products and professional teams are ready to take on the challenge of providing a reliable growing solution when it matters most,” Wes Martin, Profile’s vice president of horticulture/lawn and garden, said in the release. “Through these trials, we hope to show that our products can grow nutritious food in unique conditions.

“The positive impact of such an efficient production system as what’s being used in space could reduce fertilizer applications in hydroponics, greenhouses and nurseries on Earth, resulting in less labor and reducing environmental run off,” Martin said in the release.

Photo: This preflight image shows the Red Robin dwarf tomato used for Veg-05 growing in Veggie hardware blended with Profile PPC and Florikan CRF at the Kennedy Space Center. Photo: Profile Products

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