Tomatoes that can grow in salt water
2001/10/01 Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria
Biologists from the University of California and the University of Toronto add a gene from the Arabidopsis plant to a tomato plant so it can grow in salt water. After the genetic change, the tomato plant produces a lot of transporting proteins.
The function of these proteins is to use the energy of cells to transport sodium ions to cytoplasm vacuoles. In this way, sodium is isolated and does not interfere with the biochemical activity of the plant. This new plant can also grow with water containing 50 times more salt than normal.
When the concentration of salts in the soil is high, the water passes from the soil to the plant and dehydrates and dies. Therefore, it is very important to control the salinity of the soil. It is estimated that every year around 10 million hectares are lost due to the excessive salinity of the soils, which means that only 60% of the production that would otherwise be obtained is achieved.