2018 Volume 16 Issue 2 Pages 152-156
Food production at the lunar base or during the manned Mars mission has recently gained significant attention. Plants such as zinnia, lettuce, thale cress, wheat, and barley have been cultured for a long duration in space. Although rice is considered a staple food for most people in the world, little research has been conducted on rice cultivation in space. Rice grains are nutrient-rich with a high content of carbohydrate, protein, and dietary fiber. Moreover, rice is a high-yield crop, and rice grains have a long shelf life. Rice symbolizes the rice-eating culture of Japan. Thus, rice should be considered as a viable Japanese food source for space travelers. A previous report introduced a new variety, Kozonosumika, as super-dwarf rice that could be cultured in space. This rice variety is one-fourth as tall as normal varieties with approximately 20 cm plant height. We investigated its taste characteristics to determine its viability as staple food in space. Glutinous Kozonosumika and non-glutinous Hosetsuwaisei (super-dwarf varieties) and Nipponbare were cultured for sensory tests. Kozonosumika was found to be superior to Hosetsuwaisei in taste. Therefore, Kozonosumika can be a promising candidate for space cultivation because of its short height and high protein content.