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Crop Biotech Update

Evaluating Potential of Borage in Bioremediation of Saline Soil

January 21, 2011

Bioremediation has been proposed as an economical, sustainable, effective, and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional remediation technologies. Hassanali Naghdi Badi and Ali Sorooshzadeh at the Tarbiat Modares University, Iran, conducted a study to evaluate the potential of the annual herb borage (Borago officinalis L.) or starflower in bioremediation of saline soil. They planted borage seeds in soils with different salinity levels measured by electric conductivity (non-saline as control 5, 10, and 15 dS/m). Production and bioremediation were observed during the seedling, vegetative, and flowering stages. Bioremediation was measured in terms of the plants' accumulation of saline ions sodium and chloride along with the changes in growth and chemical composition.

Results showed that sodium and chloride ions in plants increased as salinity levels of the soil increased. Saline ions were found in the aerial parts of the plants grown on soil with highest salinity (15 dS/m). Borage growth was also observed to decrease with increasing salinity, but its survival and growth indicated that it could tolerate salinity up to electric conductivity of 15 dS/m. It was also confirmed that borage could cumulatively remove considerable amounts of salt from the soil. This suggests that borage can be cultivated as an inter-crop to remedy high concentration of saline ions in soil.

Read the abstract at http://www.academicjournals.org/AJB/abstracts/abs2011/10Jan/Badi%20and%.20Sorooshzadeh.htm