Thanks to researchers at the University of California – Riverside, a large portion of the Earth’s current non-hospitable soil can now become inhabitable by food crops, taking pressure off of one of the most pressing problems facing the expansion of human life – overpopulation and limited resources.
Scientists at the university have developed a method to tweak a single gene in plants to make them tolerant of aluminum, a metal toxic to most crop plants which prevents the plants from growing in areas with high traces of the element. Aluminum-rich soils are often found in developing countries, meaning that some of the world’s most populous areas could now use undeveloped lands to grow crops to feed their large populations.
The method will allow up to 50% of the current aluminum-tainted soils to become habitable by crop plants. With the world’s population expected to increase by half in the next fifty years, this revolutionary development came just in time. The planet is running out of room to produce food for our species and finding ways to inhabit and produce on these lands is essential to the continuity of the human race. The developed world has no room left for crops, leading to deforestation of rain forests in Latin America and Africa to fill this need for land.
The Green Revolution provided us with pesticides and industrial farming techniques to increase global food productions. However, its limits have been reached. New breakthroughs like this have become essential to allow our populations to grow.