Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scientists closer to developing salt-tolerant crops

Seed Daily: An international team of scientists has developed salt-tolerant plants using a new type of genetic modification (GM), bringing salt-tolerant cereal crops a step closer to reality. The research team - based at the University of Adelaide's Waite Campus in Australia - has used a new GM technique to contain salt in parts of the plant where it does less damage.

Salinity affects agriculture worldwide, which means the results of this research could impact on world food production and security…."Salinity affects the growth of plants worldwide, particularly in irrigated land where one third of the world's food is produced. And it is a problem that is only going to get worse, as pressure to use less water increases and quality of water decreases," says the team's leader, Professor Mark Tester, from the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide and the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics (ACPFG).

"Helping plants to withstand this salty onslaught will have a significant impact on world food production."….

Repeated freeze-thaw and evaporation cycles gradually pushed the thin salt crust into hexagonal honeycomb shapes in Death Valley, California, shot by Wing-Chi Poon, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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