A completely closed life support system today cannot be considered without food production and waste recycling (i.e. food production systems have in average an efficiency of 60%, the rest being waste). Current nutrition requirements are aiming at a very accurate food quality (i.e. minerals content, carbohydrates content, amino-acids profile, fatty acids profile). Yet bed rests have demonstrated that existing knowledge and tools allowed limited prediction of meal nutritional composition and subsequently food quality. As a matter of fact, the discrepancy between prediction and actual food nutritional content was mainly due to the vegetal (i.e. plants) elements. In a general manner, the complete food production and preparation chain, which starts with the plant seed and ends with the ready-to-eat meal, impacts the food quality at several stages (i.e. plant growth conditions, harvest, storage, processing, cooking, etc.). However, this impact is today poorly understood or controlled. Moreover, modelling of food production systems are today limited to very specific and independent plant metabolisms (C and N uptake, light utilisation, etc.) but almost no knowledge exist at the overall plant level. Consequently a strong effort of plant and food characterisation is now necessary for a better understanding and control of the complete MELiSSA loop.
If you wish to access the documents related to the Invitation to Tender, you have to log in to the ESA portal.