Houston Community News >> China Start Earth Trials of Space Bred Seeds

9/28/2006 Beijing-- Chinese scientists are to start experimental cultivation of 2,200 seed samples from the country's seed-breeding satellite in a hope to grow high-yield, high-quality plants, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced on Tuesday.

Seeds from the Shijian-8 satellite which landed two days ago, were handed over to Agriculture Minister Du Qinglin. Tests showed the seeds had remained intact and could be used for plantation, said agriculture experts. The seeds covered nine categories, including grains, wheat, corn, cotton, vegetables, fruits, fungus and oil plants.

The ministry said the seeds would be dispatched to 94 agricultural centers across the country for study of the influence of cosmic radiation and zero gravity. In the next three years, the acreage of crops cultivated from the seeds would reach between 30 million mu (two million hectares) and 50 million mu (3.3 million hectares).

The Shijian-8 satellite was launched on Sept. 9 to carry out experiments aimed at discovering the effects of zero gravity on the germination and sprouting of plants.

(Contributed by Xinhua News Agency)