Given the impact of seawater inundation on coastal rice growing areas in Japan (and other countries), there is an obvious need for the development of highly salt-tolerant rice varieties as a key component to returning these areas to agriculture, to production and to prosperity as a foundation for the restoration and healing of affected communities.
Quoting from an article by Darren Plett (Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics):
“Japan’s tsunami of March 11, 2011 brought a wall of water laden with debris up to 5 kilometres inland from the sea. After the surge receded, the surrounding farming area was left covered in debris and a thick, black sludge. This sludge was extremely saline due to the sodium chloride from seawater.
“Reports indicate the 2011 rice production was severely decreased by salinity stress in the tsunami-affected region. This seriously affected the livelihood of these farmers.
“Salinity stress decreases plant growth and therefore also the yield of crop plants.
“Unfortunately for the Japanese farmers affected by the tsunami, not only is rice a salinity sensitive species, it is one of the most salinity sensitive crop species grown.
“. . . .development of salinity tolerant rice varieties for release to farmers with low incomes could be vital in helping . . . . agriculture survive in salinity affected areas (and) . . . the short-term recovery from devastating tsunamis.”
PolyGenomX has the demonstrated capacity to develop deeply salt-tolerant varieties of any plant and is now documenting a recent project based on Arundo donax (Giant Reed which, like rice, is a monocotyledon). The plants developed in that project are capable of thriving in salt concentrations half that of seawater, breaking the salt down into its component elements and leaving no waste salt in their environment. The plants developed by application of the PGX technology are natural organisms, and are not GMO by any measure.
PolyGenomX is confident that, unlike traditional and other experimental rice-breeding programs aimed at developing salt tolerance over multiple generations, it can deliver deeper salt tolerance in less time than any other technique, and provide the added bonus of increased yield, water efficiency and robustness. We look forward to the opportunity to apply this capability to rice varieties.