MOSCOW, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Russian scientists say vegetables grown on board the International Space Station can be consumed without fear of food poisoning or other adverse effects.
Researchers have been studying "orbital-grown" vegetables such as Japanese cabbage for several years.
"The samples of cabbage have been brought to Earth," a researcher at the Moscow-based Institute of Medical and Biological Problems told RIA Novosti Wednesday. "We have not detected any deviations in their biomass composition compared with cabbage grown on Earth."
"From a microbiological perspective, these samples were absolutely safe to consume," the researcher said.
Because fruits and vegetables cannot be washed with water on board a spacecraft, the researchers said, microbiological safety is a significant factor in determining space travelers' diets.
The results of the orbital growing experiments could help in compiling a list of plants suitable for cultivating during prolonged space missions including manned flights to Mars and beyond, they said.