Seawater Crops Could Solve Food, Water Shortages

Illustration for article titled Seawater Crops Could Solve Food, Water Shortages

Imagine going to the beach, looking out across the ocean, and seeing an endless stretch of...tomato plants. Those days may still be years off, but the case for using seawater for farming is getting stronger. Italian researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Chemical Society say that when tomato plants are watered with a 12% saltwater solution, they produce sweeter, tastier fruit that's also higher in vitamins A and C.

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It's a great step forward, and with our planet 3/4 covered in water, why not take it to the logical extreme? A future-agriculture group called the Seawater Foundation has shown in the past that they could grow crops in otherwise barren parts of Eritrea in east Africa using just ocean water.

But could we take it even further? with a little genetic tinkering, would it be possible to cultivate great floating farms out at sea? Could the Pacific Ocean be Earth's bread/rice basket of the future? With the way food prices have been skyrocketing and words like 'food crisis' being thrown around, it's an idea worth some exploration.

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Source: JACS via Science Daily

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DISCUSSION

I think instead of bending land lubber plants to our will and forcing them to live in the ocean, it would make more sense to have plants that already call the ocean home be used as a food source.

For the same reason that I eat a lot of sea food and fruit when I am in Hawai'i and eat a lot of steak and vegetables when I am in South Dakota, I eat what is present. Its cheaper, and generally better from where it comes naturally.

I am very much in love with the idea that we could use the ocean as a better food source than just crab and other creatures though. Bring on the kelp and sea cucumber salid!