The development of a salt-tolerant variety of durum wheat ia an Australian breakthrough. Researchers at Adelaide Uni’s Waite Research Institute have shown an improved grain yield by 25 per cent on salty soils.
Caused by overdrawn water tables and excessive development of fresh water resources around the world, this research
“is significant as salinity already affects over 20 per cent of the world’s agricultural soils, and salinity poses an increasing threat to food production due to climate change..
..we have produced a novel durum wheat that is not classified as transgenic, or ‘GM’, and can therefore be planted without restriction,” says CSIRO Plant Industry scientist, Dr Rana Munns.
New varieties of salt-tolerant durum wheat could be a commercial reality in the near future.
Dr Matthew Gilliham from Adelaide Uni’s says:
“With global population estimated to reach nine billion by 2050, and the demand for food expected to rise by 100 per cent in this time, salt-tolerant crops will be an important tool to ensure future food security.”
The research has been published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.