Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



We Learn to Grow Crops in Saltwater

Just in time, too.

As climate change brings an increase in drought areas and rising sea levels we have to find a solution to soil salinity if our civilization is to survive.

Previous civilizations dependant on irrigation of dry soil have failed. The gradually increased salinity in irrigated dry soil has ended civilizations even though they solved the engineering and logistic problems of designing, building, and maintaining irrigation systems, but neglected the long-term effects of salinization.

We’ll have no choice but to learn to farm in salty water, as the next few centuries’ climate change dries up growing areas from California, Florida and the Middle East, to Africa and China and Australia – – and as seawater increasingly infiltrates crops on low-slung island nations.

So the research findings of a group of scientists from the University of Adelaide in Australia and Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK. attempting to learn to grow crops in saltwater is very good news.

The team has succeeded in keeping salt out of the leaves of the first plant species tested:

“Helping plants to withstand this salty onslaught will have a significant impact on world food production,” says Professor Mark Tester, the leader of the team of international scientists working on the problem.

The researchers modified genes specifically around the plant’s water conducting “pipes” so that salt is removed from the transpiration stream before it gets to the shoot; using a new GM technique to contain salt in parts of the plant where it does less damage.

“This reduces the amount of toxic Na+ building up in the shoot and so increases the plant’s tolerance to salinity,” Professor Tester says.

“In doing this, we’ve enhanced a process used naturally by plants to minimize the movement of Na+ to the shoot. We’ve used genetic modification to amplify the process, helping plants to do what they already do – but to do it much better.”

The team is now in the process of applying this technology to basic crops such as rice, wheat and barley. The results of their work are published in the top international plant science journal, ‘The Plant Cell’.

“Our results in rice already look very promising,” Professor Tester says.

Via Seed Daily

Image from Ken Foto

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.


You May Also Like

Clean Power

A major collaboration between universities and energy companies has made vital improvements to offshore wind turbines, which could help them generate more renewable energy...

Clean Power

Steel, like concrete, is such an integral part of our world that we rarely notice it. From wherever you are reading this, I guarantee...


Farmers don't buy spraying drones or hire drone spraying services because of the environmental benefits, of course. They don't need to justify the use...


We've already manufactured an awful lot of steel. There are hundreds of billions of tons of the stuff lying around, much of it obsolete.

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.