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Salicornia bigelovii: a versatile crop for the seawater agriculture

More than 97% water found on earth is saline in nature which cannot be used in agriculture. The amount of fresh water available for agriculture is limited and it is getting scarcer as the demand for food rises with the increase in population of the world. To meet the ever increasing need of agriculture products such crops have to be found that can be irrigated with saline or seawater. Salicornia bigelovii , a halophyte (salt-loving plant), may prove to be a strong candidate for such exigencies. It has a great potential to be a part of both human and animal diet and it can also be used in the production of bio-fuel.

The genus Salicornia belongs to family Chenopodiaceae and subfamily Salicornioideae which includes some of the most salt-tolerant terrestrial plants that grow in coastal marshes and on seashore. One of its species, Salicornia bigelovii, can even be grown in hyper-saline drainage water. Arguably it is considered to be the most salt-tolerant vascular plant in the world. S. bigelovii is an annual plant, with erect, succulent, photosynthetic stems. Its jointed spikes are terminal on each stem. Its flowers are bisexual, consisting of merged sepals that encircle the stigma and stamens. Pollination occurs through wind. It has small thin seeds which are brown in color. The species is found in coastal areas of Mexico and the United States of America.

Authors: 
Mohammad Shahid, N.K. Rao
Year: 
2011
Publication type: 
Research Article
Publication Source: 
Biosalinity News
Volume/Chapter/Issue: 
12
Page Number: 
6

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