September 05, 2019
Increasingly salty soil is a big problem for farmers, as many crops are unable to grow under these conditions. This means that over time farmland with salty ground water can become unusable, which in turn is a big problem for food security.
Researchers from Brigham Young University may have a solution though. The team were able to extract and isolate over 40 different types of bacteria from the roots of plants, called halophytes, that are salt tolerant. They then made solutions of these bacteria and added that to alfalfa seeds. The treated seeds were then grown in high saline conditions to see how well they would survive.
Seeds treated with two of the 40 isolated bacteria, Halomonas and Bacillus, grew the best. These seeds were able to grow in the presence of 1% salt, which would normally prevent seeds growth in normal alfalfa seeds. The team has already started similar experiments in other crop types and are hopeful that this new discovery will be a breakthrough in growing crops in salty soil.
Source: Genetics Literacy Project
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