ROOT 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.
The project aims at optimising the tolerance of tomato to salinity stress, using both natural biostimulants and a population of natural genetic variants. It creates new methods for more sustainable agriculture on a shorter term, by developing biological substances providing resilience towards salinity, and at the same time limiting use of synthetic chemicals and artificial fertilizers. In ROOT, new biostimulants are developed that enhance crop growth under salinity stress. The project focuses on long-term solutions for salinity challenges by selecting salinity adapted crop varieties and providing markers for salinity tolerance.