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Journal of Botany
Volume 2012, Article ID 310705, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/310705
Review Article

Saline Agriculture in the 21st Century: Using Salt Contaminated Resources to Cope Food Requirements

MAP-BioPlant, Porto, Portugal

Received 2 December 2011; Accepted 1 August 2012

Academic Editor: Conceição Santos

Copyright © 2012 Bruno Ladeiro. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

With the continue increase of the world population the requirements for food, freshwater, and fuel are bigger every day. This way an urgent necessity to develop, create, and practice a new type of agriculture, which has to be environmentally sustainable and adequate to the soils, is arising. Among the stresses in plant agriculture worldwide, the increase of soil salinity is considered the major stress. This is particularly emerging in developing countries that present the highest population growth rates, and often the high rates of soil degradation. Therefore, salt-tolerant plants provide a sensible alternative for many developing countries. These plants have the capacity to grow using land and water unsuitable for conventional crops producing food, fuel, fodder, fibber, resin, essential oils, and pharmaceutical products. In addition to their production capabilities they can be used simultaneously for landscape reintegration and soil rehabilitation. This review will cover important subjects concerning saline agriculture and the crop potential of halophytes to use salt-contaminated resources to manage food requirements.