Biosalinity

related topics
{island, water, area}
{acid, form, water}
{food, make, wine}
{specie, animal, plant}

Biosalinity is the study and practice of using saline (salty) water for irrigating agricultural crops.

Many arid and semi-arid areas actually do have sources of water, but the available water is usually brackish (0.5-5g/L salt) or saline (30-50g/L salt). The water may be present in underground aquifers or as seawater along coastal deserts. With traditional farming practices, saline water results in soil salinization, rendering it unfit for raising most crop plants. Indeed, many arid and semi-arid areas were simply considered unsuitable for agriculture, and agricultural development of these areas was not systematically attempted until the second half of the 20th century.

Research in biosalinity includes studies of the biochemical and physiological mechanisms of salt tolerance in plants, breeding and selection for salt tolerance (halotolerance), discovery of periods in a crop plant's life cycle when it may be less sensitive to salt, use of saline irrigation water to increase desirable traits (such as sugar concentration in a fruit) or to control the ripening process, study of the interaction between salinity and soil properties, and development of naturally salt-tolerant plant species (halophytes) into useful agricultural crops. See also halophile bacteria, which thrive under conditions of high salinity.

When properly applied (watering well in excess of evapotranspiration, maintaining soil structure for excellent drainage), brackish-water irrigation does not result in increased salinization of the soil. Sometimes this means that farmers have to add extra water after a rainstorm, to carry salts back down to below the root zone.

External links

Organizations involved in biosaline research and development

Popular reviews

Full article ▸

related documents
Fumarole
Ural Mountains
Mafic
Asian brown cloud
Oasis
Juan de Nova Island
Hoy
Younger Dryas
River Welland
Cap-Vert
Arno River
Lake Agassiz
Geography of São Tomé and Príncipe
Photic zone
Oléron
Geography of French Guiana
Geography of Namibia
Orinoco
Geography of the West Bank
Lake Teletskoye
Stratosphere
Adriatic Sea
Kyzyl Kum
Mount Augustus National Park
Benacre NNR
Geography of the Netherlands Antilles
RSPB Snettisham
Strait of Belle Isle
Gironde estuary
Effigy Mounds National Monument