Scientists at Johnston-based Pioneer Hi-Bred International are anxious to check out the soybean plants that are just back from 97 days aboard the International Space Station. Eight seeds were sent in a special container aboard a space shuttle to the orbiting station, where Iowa-native astronaut Peggy Whitson tended them. Seven of the eight sprouted, yielding 83 beans. Pioneer research director Daria Schmidt says the plants returned aboard shuttle Atlantis last week. She says the plants look very much like the plants that were in regular fields as do the seeds. Schmidt says the beans look normal, but they’ll undergo a battery of “chromatography” tests. The soybeans will be analyzed for things like oil, protein and carbohydrate content. Soybeans could someday become a common crop providing sustenance for space-dwellers.
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