Soybean: This Stuff Will Grow Anywhere

by Irma Arkus

According to Wired, new research into how hearty is soybean plant has astounded scientists, who revealed that the plant will flourish in impossible conditions, even radioactive soil.

The hostile ground surrounding Chernobyl has supported soybean plants which adapted to the polluted and radioactive grounds.

The world’s largest nuclear accident is still home to plants that manage to defend themselves against radiation. Biologists explain that the cause of their survival are proteins activated when plants try to protect themselves against genetic damage.

Martin Hajduch, a plant biotechnology expert at the Slovak Academy of Sciences has analysed the plants proteins, determining that the plants have adaptation mechanisms which protect them against heavy metals, salt, and radiation. As a result of these protective mechanisms, the levels of Cesium-137 in the soybean plants and their seeds were found to be remarkably low.

While Hajduch does not encourage eating the plants, the discovery may lead to new techniques of scrubbing radioactive areas, and even terraforming of other hostile environments on Earth and other planets. [Wired]