China Makes Progress in "Space Produce"

China has made remarkable progress in developing the technology of seed breeding in outer space during the past decade, the former director of the State Aerospace Bureau told the ongoing China Industrial Hi-tech Forum.

"The vast space has become an industrial base for seed breeding, " Liu Jiyuan said, giving 150-gram green peppers as an example of what can be grown from "space seeds."

Seeds and organs of plants carried by satellites or spacecraft to space are genetically mutated as a result of radiation and weightlessness. Scientists select certain mutated seeds to grow high-quality strains of plants and vegetables.

China has successfully carried more than 1,000 varieties of seeds to space on ten trips via satellites and unmanned aircraft, Liu said. Half of the seeds mutated with improved qualities, and some of the selected seeds are now growing on a large scale.

Professor Shen Guifang with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences said the production of selected sweet peppers has increased by 30-50 percent and "space cucumbers" are now popular in Beijing, and Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces.

Meanwhile, flower seeds returned back from space have also exhibited improvements, Shen added.

People's Daily Online ---