Introduction of an improved method to identify salt-tolerant crops

Last week the article "An improved methodology to evaluate crop salt tolerance from field trials" by Dutch scientists Prof. dr. Dr. G. van Straten (Wageningen University), Prof. dr. Dr. P.M. van Bodegom (Leiden University), Prof. dr. Dr. J. Rozema (VU University Amsterdam), Dr. ir. A.C. de Vos (Salt Farm Texel) and Dr. B. Bruning (Salt Farm Texel, Salt Farm Foundation) was published. This article, made on request of Salt Farm Foundation and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, is about an improved method to identify salt-tolerant crops, and thus to advance saline farming.

One of the problems is that salt tolerance is a complex matter. "In various publications there are large differences in the reported salt tolerance levels between crops, (comparable) varieties, locations and years", says Dr. Arjen de Vos. These inconsistent data hamper the development of salt-tolerant crops and saline agriculture. The new method is reliable and can provide a new basis for a good assessment of the potential of crops under saline conditions. The method not only includes a way to analyze data in a robust and uniform way, but also shows that the salt concentration at which 90% yield is reached is a more reliable way to determine salt tolerance instead of the usual threshold value (maximum salt concentration without loss of yield). The results also show that the potato variety is moderately tolerant in the study instead of the current idea that potato is moderately salt-sensitive. This makes this potato variety suitable for cultivation under salty conditions in many parts of the world. A uniform approach to determining salt tolerance can be the starting point for the development of new salt-tolerant crop varieties that can help millions of farmers.

Salinization affects large parts of the world and millions of farmers are faced with declining yields and many are even forced to migrate. In the coastal area of Bangladesh alone, 27 million people may have to migrate by 2050 because of increasing salinization. Salt tolerant crops can help these farmers increase their yield and income in saline areas.

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For the press: for more information you can contact;
Dr. Arjen de Vos
Director R&D saline agriculture
Salt Farm Texel (part of Saline Farming)
+31 6 10131963