Tech Explorist: The growth of plants in outer space has gathered so much interest. Scientists experiment with different lighting and temperatures to see which environment is best for growing plants. They also simulate the conditions on the ISS to see which plants could thrive in low Earth orbit.
 However, in outer space, plants need to withstand some rigorous conditions. For that, they need extra help from bacteria.
 A discovery aboard the International Space Station (ISS) may help create the ‘fuel’ to help plants withstand such stressful situations. Scientists working with NASA described the discovery and isolation of 4 strains of bacteria belonging to the family Methylobacteriaceae from different locations aboard the ISS across two consecutive flights.
 One of the strains was identified as Methylorubrum rhodesianum, while the other three were previously undiscovered and belonged to a novel species novel. Scientists named them IF7SW-B2T, IIF1SW-B5, and IIF4SW-B5 as their genetic analysis shows them close relative to Methylobacterium indicum.
Methylobacterium species are involved in nitrogen fixation, phosphate solubilization, abiotic stress tolerance, plant growth promotion, and biocontrol activity against plant pathogens.