Chinese scientists develop rice that can grow in seawater

According to The Independent, Chinese scientists have developed several types of rice that can be grown in seawater, potentially creating enough food for 200 million people. The rice was grown in a field near the Yellow Sea coastal city of Qingdao in China’s eastern Shandong province. The scientists planted 200 different types of the grain to investigate which would grow best in salty conditions. The new type of rice was developed by a team led by Yuan Longping, who has spent decades trying to breed rice to grow in different conditions. The team pumped sea water into the fields, diluted and then channeled into the rice paddies. They expected to produce 4.5 tons of rice per hectare but the crops exceeded expectations, in one case delivering up to 9.3 tons per hectare. There are one million square km of land in China where crops do not grow because of high salinity. Scientists hope the development of the new rice will allow some of these areas to be used for agriculture.