Common knowledge dictates that most food plants can’t grow in areas fed by salty sea water. But a group of researchers in the Netherlands has found that perhaps that isn’t necessarily the case. Those researchers discovered that the humble potato can not only survive, but thrive in salty soil, and it could spell a food revolution.

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Salt-grown potatoes are sweeter than normal potatoes, with a hint of salt. And while that might make them an interesting niche product for foodies in many countries, it could be a promising development for growing crops in places where they couldn’t have survived before. Over 70 percent of the world is covered in salty sea water and around 250 million people live on salt-fed soil. That soil has long been considered unsuitable for growing.

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To test the theory, boxes of the salt-grown potatoes were sent to Pakistan to be grown in traditionally unsuitable land. The team is also trying out a variety of different crops in the salty soil of the Netherlands. If all goes according to expectations, it could open the door to growing crops in places where they could never have survived before.


Lead image via Shutterstock, image via DFID