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Soil salinity cuts crop yields worldwide, but salt-tolerant crops are on the horizon

| November 19, 2018
Overly salty soil can severely limit crop yields. Credit: Smithsonian Magazine
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Soil salinity [affects] large areas in the world and millions of farmers are faced with decreasing yields and many are even forced to migrate. In coastal Bangladesh alone, 27 million people may need to migrate by 2050 due to increasing salinity. Salt tolerant crops can help these farmers to increase their yields [in the] affected areas.

One of the problems is that crop salt tolerance is a complex matter and numerous publications show great differences in reported salt tolerance levels between crops, between (similar) varieties, and between locations or years. This inconsistent data is holding back the development of salt tolerant crops and saline agriculture in the field.

Now, Dutch scientists [have developed] an improved methodology to evaluate crop salt tolerance, that can alleviate and overcome many of the causes of …. inconsistent data. [Their research] provides a robust methodology and focuses on …. the ECe90, or the salinity level at which 90 percent yield is reached. This method [could provide a] basis for reliable assessment of the cultivation potential of crops [grown in] salt-affected soils.

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…. A robust and uniform approach to evaluate crop salt tolerance can be the starting point for the development of new salt tolerant crop varieties that can help millions of farmers and contribute to global food security ….

Read full, original article: Improved method to identify salt tolerant crops

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