Credit: Klaroudaseeds

The development of salt tolerant durum wheat with a yield percentage 25 per cent higher than its parent breed by CSIRO scientists, a significant breakthrough that proves to be beneficial for farmers in salt-affected regions in Australia.

The latest field trials done in north of New South Wales have shown durum wheat that carried new salt-tolerant genes was way better than other wheat varieties grown in terms of survival and yield.

This new advancement is great for farmers to produce higher yields of durum wheat in saline environments. Durum wheat also has a better pasta making properties.

According to Dr Richard James, a researcher of CSIRO, the collaborative project with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of Adelaide and the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, had demonstrated a significant 25 per cent yield.

By planting the new salt tolerant durum wheats in different levels of salinity and comparing their yield with other durum wheats, we've demonstrated an impressive 25 per cent yield advantage under saline soil conditions, said Dr James.

The research team had also recently isolated two salt tolerance genes - Nax1 and Nax2 - from the wheat variety called Triticum monococcum.

The leader of the study, Dr Rana Munns said the two genes function by preventing the passage of sodium (salt) from the roots to the leaves.

The salt-tolerant genes were introduced into durum wheat by using traditional, non-genetically modified breeding procedures through the help of molecular markers.

Salinity has been a problem as most wheat-growing regions in Australia are affected by it. The new salt-tolerant wheat durum thus offers a new opportunity to farmers.