Salt-Tolerant Bacteria Help Crops Grow in Salty Soil

Researchers from Brigham Young University have found that bacteria occurring in the roots of salt-tolerant plants can be used as an innoculant to help crop seeds grow in salty soil. Bacteria isolates from halophytes were applied to alfalfa seed in solution, and the alfalfa could then grow in soil with 1% sodium chloride content. The research team is beginning to conduct lab and greenhouse results on a range of vegetable crops and carry out field trials. The discovery could make increasingly saline cropland in the American Southwest and elsewhere in the world usable again.