Effects of simulated microgravity on rice (MR219) growth and yield


  • Nur Athirah Zulkifli Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia
  • Teoh Chin Chuang Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)
  • Ong Keat Khim Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia
  • Ummul Fahri Abdul Rauf Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia
  • Norliza Abu Bakar Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)
  • Wan Md Zin Wan Yunus Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia




Oryza sativa, 2-D clinostat, simulated microgravity, growth and yield


Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is a staple food in many Asian countries with an ever increasing demand. However, the production of high quality rice seeds is insufficient to meet this demand. Research on plant growth in space related to the exposure of a microgravity environment are rare, costly and time-limited. Similar experiments can be conducted on the ground to simulate the microgravity condition using a 2-D clinostat which compensates for the unilateral influence of gravity. This study was conducted to establish a simple and cost effective technique to enhance the quality of the Malaysian rice seed variety MR 219 by using a 2-D clinostat and to determine the effects of simulated microgravity on the growth and yield of the rice seeds. The experiments were performed at different rotation speeds (2 rpm and 10 rpm) for 10 days at room temperature. The rice growth and yield parameters were measured every 2 weeks and at harvest time (day 110), respectively.  The data were analysed using the MINITAB statistical software package. The mean value estimates of the parameters obtained under different conditions were compared using analysis of variance (ANOVA) with the Tukey test for multiple comparisons using a 0.05 significance level. Significant differences in the number of tiller, stem width , chlorophyll content , weight of grains and panicles and total grain weight per plant were identified at rotation speed 10 rpm  when compared to rotation speed 2 rpm and control. The highest means were mainly obtained under 10 rpm clinorotated rice seeds. In general, plants grown from 10 rpm clinorotated seeds are also more resistant to rice diseases (rice blast disease, rice tungro disease and hopper burn). These results suggest that simulated microgravity using a 2-D clinostat affected several rice (MR219) growth and yield parameters significantly. 

Author Biographies

Nur Athirah Zulkifli, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia

Department of Defence Science

Teoh Chin Chuang, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)

Engineering Research Centre

Ong Keat Khim, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia

Department of Chemistry and Biology

Ummul Fahri Abdul Rauf, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia

Department of Mathematics

Norliza Abu Bakar, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)

Biotechnology and Nanotechnology Centre

Wan Md Zin Wan Yunus, Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia

Department of Defence Science


Aarruof, J., Darbelley, N., Demandre, C., Razafindramboa, N., Perbal, G. 1999. Effect of horizontal clinorotation on the root system development and on lipid breakdown in rapeseed (Brassica napus) seedlings. Plant Cell Physiology. 40 (4), 396-405.

Carman, J. C., Hole, P., Salisbury, F. B., Bingham, G. E. 2015. Developmental, nutritional and hormonal anomalies of weightlessness-grown wheat. Life Sciences in Space Research, 6, 59-68.

C. Siwar, N. D. M., Idris, M. Yasar, G. Morshed. 2014. Issues and challenges facing rice production and food security in the granary areas in the east coast economic region (ECER), Malaysia. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, 7 (4), 711-722.

Chakrabortty, S., Biswas P. K., Roy, T. S., Mahmud, M. A. A., Mehraj, H., Jamal Uddin, A. F. M. 2014. Growth and yield of boro rice (BRRI Dhan 50) as affected by planting geometry under system of rice intensification. Journal of Bioscience and Agriculture Research, 2 (1), 36-43.

Elisa Azura, A., Shamsuddin, J, C. F., Ishak, I., Roslan. 2014. Increasing rice production using different lime sources on an acid sulphate soil in Merbok, Malaysia. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science 37 (2), 223-247.

Harrison, M. A., and Kaufman, P. B. 1982. Does ethylene play a role in the release of lateral buds (tillers) from apical dominance in oats?. Plant Physiol. 70, 811-814.

Hilaire, E., Peterson, B. V., Guikema, J. A., Brown, C. S. 1996. Clinorotation affects morphology and ethylene production in soybean seedlings. Plant Cell Physiology 37, (7), 929-934.

Hubert, J., Mabagala, R. B., Mamiro, D. P. 2015. Efficacy of selected plant extracts against Pyricularia grisea, causal agent of rice blast disease. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 602-611.

Jagtap, S. S., Awhad, R. B., Santosh, B., Vidyasagar, P. B. 2011. Effects of clinorotation on growth and chlorophyll content of rice seeds. Microgravity Science Technology 23, 41-48.

Jagtap, S. S., Kondiram, N. D., & Vidyasagar, P. B. 2011. Effects of slow clinorotation on growth and yield in field grown rice. Gravitational and Space Biology, 25 (1), 48-50.

Joe, M. M., M. R, Islam, Karthikeyan, B., Bradeepa, K., Sivakumaar, P. K., Sa, T. 2012. Resistance responses of rice to rice blast fungus after seed treatment with the endophytic Achromobacter xylosoxidans AUM54 strains. Crop Protection, 42, 141-148.

Maclean, J. L., Dawe, D. C., Hardy, B., Hettel, G. P. 2002. Rice almanac (3rd ed.). UK: CABI Publishing.

Marcel, S., Sawers, R., Oakeley, E., Angliker, H., U., Paszkowski. 2010. Tissue-adapted invasion strategies of the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. The Plant Cell, 22, 3177-3187.

Azzam, O., and Chancellor, T. C. B. 2002. The biology, epidemiology, and management of rice tungro disease in Asia. Plant Disease, 82 (2), 88-100.

Tiara, H., Erik, H. M., Asgar, A. W. 2015. Rice production and climate change: A case study of Malaysian rice. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science 28 (3), 321-328.

Wan Jusoh, W. M. 2006. Developing Malaysia seed industry: Prospects and challenges. Economic and Technology Management Review, 1 (1), 51-59.

Yogambigai, R., Khalid, A. R., Subramaniam, M. 2015. Rice industry in Malaysia: Challenges, policies and implications. Procedia Economics and Finance, 31, 861-867.

Yuan, Z., Cao, Q., Zhang, K., Syed Tahir, A. U. K., Tian, Y., Zhu, Y., Cao, W., Liu, X. 2016. Optimal leaf positions for SPAD meter measurement in rice. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7, 1-10.

Yusuff, O., Rafii, M. Y., Norhani, A., Mohammad, A. M., Rahim, H. A., Ghazali, H., Mohammad, A. L., Isiaka, K. 2014. Genetic variability and selection criteria in rice mutant lines as revealed by quantitative traits. The Scientific World Journal, 2014, 1-12.