Halophyte Crops and Their Role in the Future of Agriculture

By: Tania Farzana  

The world’s food production will need to increase dramatically to mitigate the rising global food demand. This will be a challenging task due to the decreasing availability of good quality cultivatable land, mostly because of soil salinisation. Salinisation is a serious problem as the majority of the crop and forage species used in modern agriculture are salt sensitive (glycophytes). Consequently, alternative crop and forage species for farming in salt-affected marginalised environment need to be exploited to overcome this situation. Halophytes, natural salt loving plants, can be viable alternatives to industrialised crops. These plants have the ability to complete their life cycle in the presence of high sodium. However, the identification and use of suitable halophyte species as crops is in the early stages. This study is aimed to understand the cultivation requirements and salinity tolerance of some selective edible Australian native and naturalised halophyte species. The effects of different salinity levels on plant growth, yield and quality were investigated. In addition, greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine the role of plant nutrient ratios (i.e., nitrate-N to ammonium-N ratios) on the accumulation of antinutritional compounds in the halophytes, in particular the levels of oxalates. Information from this study will help to guide the selection and successful incorporation of halophytes into future saline farming systems.

Agriculture Sustainability
Food Production and Sustainability
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Tania Farzana

-, -, Southern Cross University, Australia
-, Australia