Production of Food Crops and Other Biomass by Seawater Culture

  • Emanuel Epstein
  • R. W. Kingsbury
  • J. D. Norlyn
  • D. W. Rush
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 14)


This chapter presents evidence on the feasibility of adapting crops to seawater culture. The scheme is enticing. The resources of land, water and nutrients upon which this novel system of crop production would draw - sea and sand- are at present useless for this purpose and indeed inimical to it in many situations. And while traditionally the sea has served as a source of animal protein (fish and shellfish),raising crop plants by seawater culture would represent primary production, without the very large energy losses that are incurred at each successive trophic level.


Salt Stress Soil Solution Salt Tolerance Food Crop Solution Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Asher, C.J. 1978. Natural and synthetic media for spermatophytes. In: CRC Handbook Series in Nutrition and Food, Section 6, Vol. III. Culture Media for Microorganisms and Plants. M. Rechcigl, Jr., ed. CRC Press, Cleveland. pp. 575–609.Google Scholar
  2. Ayers, A.D. 1953. Germination and emergence of several varieties of barley in salinized soil cultures. Agron. J. 45: 68–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ayers, R.S. 1977. Quality of water for irrigation. J. Irrig. Drainage Div., Amer. Soc. Civ. Engineers 103: 135–154.Google Scholar
  4. Ayers, R.S. and D.W. Westcot. 1976. Water Quality for Agriculture. Irrigation and Drainage Paper 29. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.Google Scholar
  5. Bernstein, L. 1964. Salt tolerance of plants. Agric. Inf. Bull. 283. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  6. Boyko, H., ed. 1966. Salinity and Aridity: New Approaches to Old Problems. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  7. Boyko, H., ed. 1968. Saline Irrigation for Agriculture and Forestry. Junk, The Hague.Google Scholar
  8. Chapman, V.J. 1976. Mangrove Vegetation. J. Cramer, Vaduz.Google Scholar
  9. Dewey, D.R. 1962. Breeding crested wheatgrass for salt tolerance. Crop Sci. 2: 403–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Donovan, T.J. and A.D. Day, 1969. Some effects of high salinity on germination and emergence of barley (Hordeum vulgare L. emend Lam. ). Agron. J. 61: 236–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Epstein, E. 1963. Selective ion transport in plants and its genetic control. In: Desalination Research Conference. National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council Publication 943. Nat. Acad. Sci. -Nat. Res. Council, Washington, DC. pp. 284–298.Google Scholar
  12. Epstein, E. 1972a. Mineral Nutrition of Plants: Principles and Perspectives. John Wiley and Sons. New York.Google Scholar
  13. Epstein, E. 1972b. Physiological genetics of plant nutrition. In: Mineral Nutrition of Plants: Principles and Perspectives. E. Epstein. John Wiley and Sons. New York. pp. 325–344.Google Scholar
  14. Epstein, E. 1977a. The role of roots in the chemical economy of life on Earth. BioSci. 27: 783–787.Google Scholar
  15. Epstein, E. 1977b. Genetic potentials for solving problems of soil mineral stress: adaptation of crops to salinity. In: Plant Adaptation to Mineral Stress in Problem Soils. M.J. Wright, ed. A Special Publication of Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, Ithaca, NY. pp. 73–82.Google Scholar
  16. Epstein, E. and R.L. Jefferies. 1964. The genetic basis of selective ion transport in plants. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. 15: 169–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Epstein, E. and J.D. Norlyn. 1977. Seawater-based crop production: a feasibility study. Science 197: 249–251.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Felger, R. and M.B. Moser. 1973. Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in the Gulf of California: discovery of its nutritional value by the Seri Indians. Science 181: 355–356.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frankel, O.H. and E. Bennett,eds. 1970. Genetic Resources in Plants-Their Exploration and Conservation. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.Google Scholar
  20. Frankel, O.H. and J.G. Hawkes, 1975. Crop Genetic Resources for Today and Tomorrow. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  21. Gerloff, G.C. 1963. Comparative mineral nutrition of plants. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. 14: 107–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Greenway, H. 1962. Plant response to saline substrates. I. Growth and ion uptake of several varieties of Hordeum during and after sodium chloride treatment. Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 15: 16–38.Google Scholar
  23. Greenway, H. 1965. Plant response to saline substrates. VII. Growth and ion uptake throughout plant development in two varieties of Hordeum vulgare. Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 18: 763–779.Google Scholar
  24. Harlan, J. R. 1976. Genetic resources in wild relatives of crops. Crop Sci. 16: 329–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hawkes, J. G., J. T. Williams, J. Hanson. 1976. A Bibliography of Plant Genetic Resources. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome.Google Scholar
  26. Hewitt, E.J. 1976. Sand and Water Culture Methods Used in the Study of Plant Nutrition. Revised 2nd ed. Commonwealth Bureau of Horticulture and Plantation Crops, East Mailing. Tech. Communication No. 22.Google Scholar
  27. Iyengar, E.R.R., J.S. Patolia, T. Kurian. 1977. Varietal differences in barley to salinity. Zeitschrift Pflanzenphysiol. 84: 355–361.Google Scholar
  28. Jacobsen, T., R. M. Adams. 1958. Salt and silt in ancient Mesopotamian agriculture. Science 128: 1251–1258.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Klimashevsky, E.L., ed. 1974. Plant Physiol, and Biochem. Sib. Inst. Plant Physiol, and Biochem., Irkutsk, Siberia, USSR. (In Russian).Google Scholar
  30. Kruckeberg, A. R. 1959. Ecological and genetic aspects of metallic ion uptake by plants and their possible relation to wood preservation. In: Marine Boring and Fouling Organisms. D. L. Ray, ed. University of Washington Press, Seattle, pp. 526–536.Google Scholar
  31. Lauchli, A. 1976. Genotypic variation in transport. In: Encyclopedia of Plant Physiology, New Series, Vol. 2, Part B. U. Luttge and M.G. Pitman, eds. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 372–393.Google Scholar
  32. Maddur, A. M. 1976. The inheritance of salt tolerance in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Ph.D. Thesis, Michigan State University, East Lansing.Google Scholar
  33. Meigs, P. 1966. Geography of Coastal Deserts. Arid Zone Research XXV III, UNESCO, Paris.Google Scholar
  34. Millikan, C.R. 1961. Plant varieties and species in relation to the occurrence of deficiencies and excesses of certain nutrient elements. J. Aust. Inst. Ag. Sci. 27: 220–233.Google Scholar
  35. Mudie, P.J. 1974. The potential economic uses of halophytes. In: Ecology of Halophytes. R. J. Reimold and W.H. Queen, eds. Academic Press, New York. pp. 565–597.Google Scholar
  36. Mudie, P.J., W.R. Schmitt, E.J. Luard, J.W. Rutherford, and F.H. Wolfson. 1972. Preliminary Studies on Seawater Irrigation. Foundation for Ocean Research Publication No. 1; Scripps Institution of Oceanography Ref. 72–70, La Jolla, California.Google Scholar
  37. Muhammed, A., R. Aksel, and R.C. von Borstel, eds. 1977. Genetic Diversity in Plants. Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  38. Myers, W.M. 1960. Genetic control of physiological processes: consideration of differential ion uptake by plants. In: A Symposium en Radioisotopes in the Biosphere. R.S. Caldecott and L. A. Snyder, eds. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, pp. 201–226.Google Scholar
  39. Myhill, R.R., and C.F. Konzak, 1967. A new technique for culturing and measuring barley seedlings. Crop Sci. 7: 275–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nielsen, D.R., R.D. Jackson, J.W. Cary, and D.D. Evans, eds. 1972. Soil Water. American Society of Agronomy–Soil Science Society of America, Madison.Google Scholar
  41. Rains, D.W. and E. Epstein. 1967. Preferential absorption of potassium by leaf tissue of the mangrove, Avicennia marina: an aspect of halophytic competence in coping with salt. Aust. J. Biol. Sci. 20:847– 857.Google Scholar
  42. Reisenauer, H.M. 1966. Mineral nutrients in soil solution. In: Environmental Biology. P.L. Altman, D. S. Dittmer, eds. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Bethesda. pp. 507– 508.Google Scholar
  43. Richards, L. A., ed. 1954. Diagnosis and Improvement of Saline and Alkali Soils. Agriculture Handbook No. 60. United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  44. Rick, C.M. 1972. Potential genetic resources in tomato species: clues from observations in native habitats. In: A.M. Srb, ed. Genes, Enzymes, and Populations. Plenum, New York. pp. 255–269.Google Scholar
  45. Rush, D. W., E. Epstein. 1976. Genotypic responses to salinity: differences between salt-sensitive and salt-tolerant genotypes of the tomato. Plant Physiol. 57: 162–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Somers, G. F., ed. 1975. Seed-bearing halophytes as food plants. University of Delaware, Newark.Google Scholar
  47. Somers, G. F. 1978. Production of food plants in areas supplied with highly saline water. Problems and prospects. In: Stress Physiology in Crop Plants. H. Mussell and R.C. Staples, eds. Wiley Interscience, New York. In press.Google Scholar
  48. Suneson, C. A., G. A. Wiebe. 1962. A “Paul Bunyan” plant breeding enterprise with barley. Crop Sci. 2: 347–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. University of California. 1977. California Agriculture Special Issue: Germplasm. Calif. Agric. 31, No. 9.Google Scholar
  50. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Agricultural Statistics. 1977. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. p. 46.Google Scholar
  51. Vose, P. B. 1963. Varietal differences in plant nutrition. Herb. Abstracts 33: 1–13.Google Scholar
  52. Weast, R. C., ed. 1975–1976. Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. 56th ed. Chemical Rubber Publishing Company, Cleveland, p.199.Google Scholar
  53. Williams, J. T. 1976. A Bibliography of Plant Genetic Resources. Supplement. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome.Google Scholar
  54. Wright, M. J., ed. 1977. Plant Adaptation to Mineral Stress in Problem Soils. A Special Publication of Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emanuel Epstein
    • 1
  • R. W. Kingsbury
    • 1
  • J. D. Norlyn
    • 1
  • D. W. Rush
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Land, Air and Water Resources Soils and Plant Nutrition ProgramUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations