22 May, 2023
Despite years of effort and advances in understanding how salinity tolerance works in plants, very few salt-tolerant crops have been released for commercial use.
In a comprehensive review of breeding salinity tolerance in plant, KAUST researchers Vanessa Melino and Mark Tester argue that the main reason research advances have not been translated into commercial salt-tolerant crop varieties for farmers is that this has not been a priority for plant breeders. However, with increasing impacts of climate change due to sea-level rise and storm surges forcing seawater further inland, the need to increase crop salinity tolerance is becoming more urgent, and so priorities will change.
The authors say more effort is needed to deliver research advances to improve performance of crops in salt-affected areas.