b'INTERNATIONAL NEWSGLOBAL SEED WATCHSAUDI ARABIA RESEARCHERS LOOK AT SALINE WATER USE, INDIAS NEW SOIL LAB, AND USDA GIVES THE GREENLIGHT TO ULTRA-LOW GOSSYPOL COTTONSEED.STATUS SAUDI ARABIA irrigation, the mechanisms behind the process are unclear. Also, little is known about the fungal-plant interaction throughout the Use of saline water to irrigate crops would bolster food securityentire growing season.for many arid countries; however, this has not been possible duePlant salt tolerance is a complex trait influenced by many to the detrimental effects of salt on plants. Now, researchers atfactors, says Abdelaziz. The salt-tolerance mechanism depends KAUST, along with scientists in Egypt, have shown that salineon the correct activation of salt tolerance genes, stresses on cell irrigation of tomato is possible with the help of a beneficial desertmembranes and the buildup of toxic sodium ions. We monitored root fungus. This represents a new key technology for countriesgrowth performance over four months in tomato plants colonized lacking water resources. with P. indica and in an untreated control group, both grown Salt in irrigation water is one of the most significant abi- commercial style in greenhouses. We examined genetic and otic stresses in arid and semiarid farming, says former KAUSTenzymatic responses to salt stress in both groups.postdoc Mohamed Abdelaziz, who worked on the project teamThe main threat to plants under salt stress is the buildup alongside Heribert Hirt. Improving plant salt tolerance andof sodium ions, which affects plant metabolism, and leaf and increasing the yield and quality of crops is vital, but we mustfruit growth. For example, excessive sodium in shoots and roots achieve this in a sustainable, inexpensive way. disrupts levels of potassium, which is vital for multiple growth The root fungus Piriformospora indica forms beneficialprocesses from germination to enzyme activation. (Source: King symbiotic relationships with many plant species, and previousAbdullah University of Science and Technology)research indicates it boosts plant growth under salt stress condi-tions in barley and rice. While initial studies suggest the fungus can improve growth in tomato plants under long term salineSTATUS INDIAA soil laboratory network at the national level will be estab-lished in partnership with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research under the aegis of the Asian Soil Laboratory Network (SEALNET) said Dr Pushpajeet Choudhari, Manager, Charles Renard Analytical Laboratory, ICRISAT, in a recent presenta-tion. He said that the laboratory is also engaged in training soil laboratory staff working in government agencies.SEALNET is a forum for soil laboratory managers from Asian countries and is part of FAOs Global Soil Partnership which aims towards harmonization of methods, measurements and indicators for sustainable management and protection of soil resources. Dr Pushpajeet will be assisting the core team in drafting the FAO-best practice manual for soil analysis. The 3rd SEALNET meeting was held on 23-27 September in the Philippines. Representatives from 16 Asian countries participated. (Source: ICRISAT)STATUS U.S.The USDA has given the green light to ultra-low gossypol cot-tonseed to be utilized as human food and in animal feed, some-thing Texas A&M AgriLife researchers have been working on for nearly 25 years. Keerti Rathore, Ph.D., and his team have developed, tested and obtained deregulation for the transgenic cotton plantTAM66274. TAM66274 is a unique cotton plant with ultra-low gossypol levels in the seed, which makes the pro-tein from the seeds safe to consume, and also maintains normal plant-protecting gossypol levels in the rest of the plant, making it ideal for the traditional cotton farmer. 42IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'