"Space Vegetables," bred by astronautical mutagenesis, which is mutating genes in the radiation of outer space, are now found on many of China's dining tables, reported China Radio International on Sunday.
The zapped superveggies are being planted in large areas across China. "Space tomatoes" are already grown on more than two thousand hectares, and "space peppers" on 14 thousand hectares.
Scientists at the Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences bred the first "space vegetable" after seven satellite experiments since 1987.
They explain that astronautical mutagenic breeding technology alters the germ plasm of crop seeds. After the satellite returns to earth, the high-yielding and most immunized seeds are selected and planted.
The scientists claim that"space vegetables" have better quality than those that stick to dry land. For example, the "space tomato" keeps fresh for some 20 days, one week longer than ordinary tomatoes. And the "space pepper" contains 20 percent more Vitamin C than other peppers.
The Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences is currently breeding "space cucumber" and "space eggplant."
(CRI September 6, 2004)