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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #443702

Research Project: Controlled Environment Agriculture Platform for Hydroponic Cultivation of Salt-Tolerant Crops with Integrated Saline Water Irrigation

Location: Vegetable Research

Project Number: 6080-22000-032-011-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2023
End Date: Mar 31, 2025

New concepts of saline agriculture are needed to address the grand challenge of food production in regions of present and future freshwater scarcity. Multidisciplinary and integrated research is needed to make use of abundant sources of saline and brackish water for food production. Our general objective is to develop an integrated hydroponics CEA platform for the cultivation of salt-tolerant food crops using saline irrigation water by enhancing crop salt tolerance, developing new concepts in agricultural-sector desalting technologies, and optimizing salinity management. Specific Objective: To identify sources of salt tolerance in solanaceous and cucurbit crops and develop tolerant germplasm for use in hydroponic systems. To conduct genome wide association mapping (GWAS) and identify genomic regions potentially involved in salt tolerance in cucumber and tomato.

In this project ARS will conduct research in Charleston, SC to phenotype the core collections of cucumber and tomato plant introductions (PI) for salt tolerance using nutrient film technology (NFT). Plants which show high levels of tolerance to salanity in the hydroponic system will be self pollinated to get seed which will then be phenotyped again for salt tolerance and advanceed to the next generation. Using this strategy salt tolerant germplasm lines will be developed for use in breeding programs and for release to the seed industry. Data on salt tolerance response of cucumber PI combined with data for PI available with cucurbit genomics data base ( will be used to conduct Genome wide analysis (GWAS) to identify potential markers conditioning salt tolerance. Similar studies will be conducted with tomato PI as well.