• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Technology Note

Air Date: Week of July 7, 2000

Living On Earth’s Cynthia Graber reports that scientists have found the key to preventing aluminum poisoning in wheat and barley.

Transcript

GRABER: Aluminum is an element that's found naturally in the soil. Usually it doesn't cause a problem, but in acidic soils aluminum can be toxic to the roots of crops. And this can drastically cut down the amount of food the land can produce. It's a widespread problem that affects almost a third of the world's potentially arable land, and dealing with it can be expensive. But some strains of important plants, like wheat and barley, are naturally resistant to aluminum toxicity. Now, researchers have found the location of the resistance gene in both crops. This means resistant strains can be identified in the laboratory and then can be cross-bred with strains that aren't resistant. Eventually, researchers say they might be able to use genetic engineering to transfer the genes from plants that can withstand aluminum poisoning to other unrelated crops. And that's this week's technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live.

Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.