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November 25, 2009

1 Min Read
Astronauts to Grow Carrots in Space

TUSKEGEE, Ala.New research from Tuskegee University soon will allow astronauts to grow their own vegetables in gardens onboard the International Space Station, beginning with carotenoid-rich carrots full of nutrients to their boost immune systems and protect against a host of diseases.

In the study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers grew 18 different varieties of hydroponic carrots using two different methods of nutrient deliverynutrient film technique (NFT), in which the roots were exposed to a nutrient solution within a plastic film trough; and microporous tube membrane system (MTMS), in which nutrient tubes were embedded into Turface, a material similar to crushed clay, where the carrots were planted.

As reported by IFT, all carrots were harvested 70 days after planting, and tested for moisture, fat, and carotene content as well as color and texture. Consumers evaluated color, crunchiness, sweetness, fibrousness, blandness, and overall preference. The findings revealed that hydroponic carrots grown using the MTMS method were most appealing to consumers due to their color and more carrot-like appearance. Moisture contents were similar among all hydroponic carrots as was the carotene content.

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