Agriculture will have to feed an increasing world population, using a decreasing arable land surface. Salinity is an increasing problem, in particular in coastal or irrigated areas. Due to climate change, these traditionally fertile areas reach concentrations higher than tolerated by current cultivation practices. In the near future, they will no longer be suitable for cultivating food unless we adopt novel production practices. The performance of roots is key to the ability of the whole plant to recruit nutrients and water; they are the primary organs that adapt their architecture and physiology to drought and salt stress.
The goal of ROOT is firstly to provide fundamental knowledge on how to improve the resilience of crop root systems towards salinity stress. It will focus on tomato because it is an important field crop in European areas threatened by salinization, and it has many well-organized resources such as a well-annotated genome and genetic resources.
The ROOT project focusses on the impact of soil salinity on crop production, which is increasing, due to climate change. It poses a major threat to global food security and EU competitiveness. Currently, 50% of all irrigation schemes are affected by salinity, including 1 million hectares in the EU alone. Soil salinity affects the yield of many agricultural crops.
Here we propose research aimed at optimising the tolerance of tomato to salinity stress, using both natural biostimulants and a population of natural genetic variants. ROOT contributes to sustainability and resilience of crops and cropping systems in the following ways:
*At the time of the proposal. Please consider this data as an accurate estimate; it may vary during the project’s lifespan.
Total costs include in kind contribution by grant holders and can therefore be higher than the total requested funding.