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Sending Algae into Space to Probe Plants in Extreme Environments

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By sending algae into space, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist and his cooperators will be able to study some of the key mechanisms that control plant growth and photosynthesis.

The work by plant physiologist Autar Mattoo with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is part of an international effort, largely funded by the European Space Agency, to improve the photosynthetic machinery of crops so they produce higher yields and grow in extreme environments. Mattoo works at the ARS Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

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