Cultivation of salt-tolerant crops a goal of 'Silt Farming Project'

Sep 14, 2012
Cultivation of salt-tolerant crops a goal of 'Silt Farming Project'

The 'Silt Farming Project' was started on Texel, one of the Dutch Wadden islands, in 2010. A project for investigating the chances of cropping on silt soils. Objective of this project is to find salt-resistant crops and to investigate the degree of salt-tolerance of such crops. In this project Wageningen UR Plant Research International (PRI) is studying the effects of silt cropping on the metabolites of crops.

Silted arable soil is a worldwide problem. Africa alone counts 70 million hectares of silted soil. Soils often used for are getting ever salter while at the same time the of the soil along the coast is increasing as well. This may even lead to situations in which normal can no longer be grown.

The 'Silt Farming Project' tries to solve this worldwide problem by cultivating salt-tolerant crops. investigated in the study include: sea kale, sea beet, barley, perennial wall-rocket, and scentless chamomile. The plants are grown on different plots on which are used to control the salt concentrations per plot. In this way it is attempted to establish the salt-tolerance of the different plant species.

Plant Research International is analysing the metabolites of the plants that have been grown on the various plots because silt cultivation may affect the constituents of plants. PRI is, e.g., investigating whether anti-nutritional compounds are present in the plant which may constitute a health risk. PRI is also searching for health-promoting compounds such as anti-oxidants and glucosinolates.

In a different project the Sint Donatus Foundation is searching for salt-resistant potato cultivars that can be grown on silt soils; they tested eight different potato cultivars on soils with different salt concentrations. For this project PRI will also analyse the metabolites of the potatoes that have been grown on the plots with the highest and those with the lowest salt concentration. The glycoalkaloid content - a naturally occurring toxic compound in potatoes - is an important parameter in these analyses.

Explore further: Sex chromosomes—why the Y genes matter

Related Stories

Salt-tolerant crops show higher capacity for carbon fixation

Dec 12, 2011

Salt can have drastic effects on the growth and yield of horticultural crops; studies have estimated that salinity renders an about one-third of the world's irrigated land unsuitable for crop production. Imbalances in soil ...

Salt-tolerant gene found in simple plant nothing to sneeze at

Apr 07, 2008

Whether a plant withers unproductively or thrives in salty conditions may now be better understood by biologists. The cellular mechanism that controls salt tolerance has been found in the arabidopsis plant by a Texas AgriLife ...

Using biochar to boost soil moisture

Nov 08, 2011

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are leading the way in learning more about "biochar," the charred biomass created from wood, other plant material, and manure.

Recommended for you

Sex chromosomes—why the Y genes matter

10 hours ago

Several genes have been lost from the Y chromosome in humans and other mammals, according to research published in the open access journal Genome Biology. The study shows that essential Y genes are rescue ...

Better mouse model enables colon cancer research

23 hours ago

Every day, it seems, someone in some lab is "curing cancer." Well, it's easy to kill cancer cells in a lab, but in a human, it's a lot more complicated, which is why nearly all cancer drugs fail clinical ...

How to get high-quality RNA from chemically complex plants

May 26, 2015

Ask any molecular plant biologist about RNA extractions and you might just open up the floodgates to the woes of troubleshooting. RNA extraction is a notoriously tricky and sensitive lab procedure. New protocols out of the ...

Plant fertility—how hormones get around

May 26, 2015

Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology have identified a transporter protein at the heart of a number of plant processes associated with fertility and possibly aging.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.