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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 18:33 GMT
S Korea to send 'kimchi' to space
Kimchi (file photo)
Many South Koreans believe kimchi has beneficial health properties
South Korea's national dish, kimchi, has been cleared for launch on the country's first space expedition.

A specially-developed recipe of the much-loved pickled cabbage dish is among several Korean food products approved for the April 2008 mission.

The recipe omits a bacterium previously thought to be vital for fermentation but which would be dangerous in space.

A special container has also been to designed to withstand pressure and prevent any spicy spillages in space.

Kimchi is made by fermenting cabbage with red peppers, radishes and a lot of garlic and ginger.

But the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) said that the lactic acid bacteria which usually help the fermentation process "could threaten astronauts' health in space".

So they devised a variation on the dish which does not contain any bacteria.

"Kimchi must be provided in a germ-free state," it said.

'Healing powers'

The dish will feature on the menu for South Korea's first astronaut, 30-year-old engineer Ko San, during his eight-day stay on the International Space Station.

South Korea's first astronaut, Ko San
Mr Ko was chosen for the mission from over 36,000 applicants

The institute has also developed a range of instant noodles, cinnamon-flavoured tea and organic produce for Mr Ko.

Many Koreans believe in the healthy properties of kimchi. In 2003, consumption rose when rumours spread that it boosted immunity to the Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus.

In 2005, scientists said that kimchi may have cured birds infected with Avian Influenza - or bird flu - but this has not been proved.

Mr Ko is scheduled to take-off on a Russian-made Soyuz rocket on 8 April with two Russians.

It is not clear whether he intends to share his special foods with his fellow astronauts on the space station.

South Korea buys into space dream
12 Nov 07 |  Asia-Pacific
South Korea picks first astronaut
05 Sep 07 |  Asia-Pacific
South Korea acts on kimchi scare
04 Nov 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Korean dish 'may cure bird flu'
14 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific

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