Rice is an essential crop for many around the world, feeding 3.5 billion people daily. Unfortunately, rice is a very water intensive crop, meaning it requires huge amount of water to successfully grow. Given our changing climate, it is imperative that we find more efficient ways of growing crops like rice.
Researchers from a company called Agrisea believe they have the answer — growing rice in the ocean. Rice contains genes that control salt-tolerance, and by amplifying the expression of these genes using gene-editing, the researchers have been able to create a strain of rice that can be grown in saltwater. This new strain of rice does not require soil to grow in, fertilizer, or fresh water. In addition to these benefits, it is thought that this ocean grown rice could also help with bioremediation, cleaning up problem areas in the oceans such as dead zones and algal blooms.
Agrisea intends to launch their first floating rice crop by the end of the year. If successful, this concept will allow future farmers to grow this and other important crops while using less land, less water and without the introduction of fertilizers to the environment.
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