Researchers form King Abdullah University of Science and Technology found out interplay of bacteria and sulfur can excite biotechnologies that will enable crops to be irrigated with salty water.
A particular bacterium lives inside the root of some plants that enables them to grow in salty water. This bacterium triggers sulfur metabolism and this finding is helping to develop new biotechnologies to help the irrigation of agricultural crops with salty water. This new finding is going to aid countries like Saudi Arabia as this country depends on energy-intensive desalination for its fresh water.
In 2013, scientist Heribert Hirt aimed to find desert plant bacteria to develop agricultural sustainability in arid lands. He found Enterobacter sp.SA187 bacterium which help crops to deal with heat, drought and salt tolerance.
A team of scientists searched genetic and metabolic changes happen inside SA187 when interacted with salt-free and salt-induced conditions.
When plants are exposed to too much salt, their cells release reactive oxygen species and cause cell damage which reduces plant growth. The researchers found SA187 bacteria releases sulfur metabolism in salt-induced conditions and generate an antioxidant named glutathione that enables the plant to detoxify from reactive oxygen species. This enables a plant to grow.
The team of scientists started a start-up with new technological inventions to treat crops with SA187, especially in Saudi Arabia. This technology made saline agriculture a reality.