Chinese space station seeds are used in cultivation experiments

BEIJING, May 4, 2019 (Xinhua) — With the return of the manned Shenzhou-17 spacecraft on Tuesday, a new batch of scientific experiment samples from the Chinese space station arrived on Earth, including seeds for planting experiments.

Fodder seeds, including alfalfa and oats, provided by the Lanzhou Institute of Agriculture and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, were exposed to 11 months of space radiation in space radiation biological exposure equipment aboard the space station.

After basic reviews at the Space Utilization Technology and Engineering Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the seeds were sent to a research team at the Lanzhou Institute of Agricultural and Pharmaceutical Sciences for experimental research.

Yang Hongshan, the team’s chief scientist, said the researchers have begun seed germination experiments and will conduct more soil cultivation experiments to obtain excellent mutants and grow superior new forage varieties with higher yield, better quality and greater resistance.

Yang said the research results are expected to greatly expand China’s competitiveness in agricultural science and technology, providing strong support for the sustainable development of the country’s agriculture.

The research team succeeded in growing three new alfalfa varieties and a new variety of oats through spatial breeding. These varieties have been widely promoted and applied in production.

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