Halophyte crop cultivation: The case for salicornia and sarcocornia

Yvonne Ventura, Moshe Sagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

219 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing soil salinization and the growing scarcity of fresh water dictate the need for a creative solution to attain sustainable crop production. To accomplish this aim, the domestication of inherently salt tolerant plant species with economic value is proposed as a straightforward methodology. Most studies investigating salt tolerance mechanisms are linked to small, experimental systems that cannot be generalized to the real agricultural context. The crops Salicornia and Sarcocornia, however, with their extreme salt tolerance and long history of consumption by humans, make the ideal model plants on which to base a halophyte growth strategy. New applied technologies were developed for leafy vegetable production using small-scale greenhouse and in-field studies. Several cultivation systems adapted to the irrigation water salinity and the available soil conditions are described. Daylength manipulation and a repetitive harvest regime partially elucidated the flowering patterns of Salicornia and Sarcocornia and showed that flowering should be prevented for maximal vegetable production. Additionally, the beneficial effect of saline irrigation on quality parameters via the enhancement of stress-induced secondary metabolites with antioxidant capacity should be considered during cultivation. This review summarizes the recent developments in growing halophytes for food production with saline irrigation, using Salicornia and Sarcocornia as a case study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-153
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Volume92
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2013

Keywords

  • Agrotechniques
  • Cash crop halophytes
  • Cultivation systems
  • Flowering
  • Harvesting
  • N-fertilization
  • Nutritional value
  • Salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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