Monday, April 26, 2010

Water-food security: higher-yielding salt-tolerant wheat


Limits to volumes of freshwater conveyed through the global hydrologic cycle combine with ever growing human water uses for agricultural purposes that nourish an increaing world population to create a water-food security problem. Collegue BO who works on water security recently twitted that «there is no food security without water security».

In Australia, the water-food security problem is particularly intense due to an extreme and prolongued drought. Over-allocation and over-exploitation of available water resources have resulted in destruction of freshwater ecosystems. Because not enough freshwater is left in the natural environment to wash away minerals in soils, salt concentration in agricultural lands has increased markedly in recent decades and has now reached levels where it represents a serious constraint for food production.

In this context, a recent scientific breakthrough aleviates to some extent the Australian water-food security problem. Science Daily reports that CSIRO researchers have developed a salt tolerant durum wheat that yields 25 per cent more grain than the parent variety in saline soils.

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