Seawater in GreenhousesThe issue of water scarcity and the economic impact of water shortage on small scale farmers is a reality in many developing countries. Water is one of the most important elements needed by plants to naturally germinate and grow. In case of scarcity, plant life is adversely affected-and there are always negative repercussions that end up affecting the entire ecological system. The effects of water scarcity on plants are known to alter genetic make-up of plants. In other words, plants start to undergo evolutionary changes in order to survive consistent water shortages.
Effects of Water Stress on Plants
Reduced Photosynthesis – This is one of the main process of plants that produces the green pigmentation. In case of water deficiency, plants will slow down the entire production mechanism and rearrange the photosynthesis apparatus leading to stomatal closure.
Protein Synthesis – Plant proteins are severely reduced during water scarcity, and it is one of the main reasons of gene alteration. Stress always leads to disturbance of membranes, affecting lipids that are crucial for plant growth. Additionally, water scarcity leads to mineral nutrition in plants creating negative changes in structure of plant membranes.
Oxidation Problems – It has been established that with drought and other related causes of water scarcity will have a direct impact on plant oxidation. Plants will undergo molecular changes that will damage membranes and negatively affect cellular metabolism. At the end of the day, there is an irreversible imbalance between how light is eventually captured and used by the plant.
Wilting – It goes without saying that plants that don’t receive enough water will wilt. Water makes up about 95% of the fresh weight of a plant. Water is essential for plants to take up nutrients and deliver them through the plant body. Water is also essential for maintaining the turgor of a plant. By filling the cells with enough water to exert pressure against the cell walls, the cells provide the strength necessary to support the plant.
Adapt or DieThe Seawater Greenhouse is a method of cultivation that provides desalination, cooling and humidification in an integrated system for arid environments. The award-winning technology, invented by Seawater Greenhouse Ltd. founder Charlie Paton, was inspired by the natural water cycle where seawater heated by the sun evaporates, cools to form clouds, and returns to earth as precipitation. Seawater greenhouses use seawater to humidify the air in the greenhouse while sunlight distills the fresh water out of the seawater. This unique solution is excellent for desert areas where fresh water is scarce.
Middle East and Desert ClimatesIn Middle Eastern countries, controlled environment agriculture (CEA), systems combine greenhouse environmental controls such as heating, lighting and water desalination with hydroponic and soilless production, enabling year-round production of fresh vegetables.
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