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Growing halophytes in China for agronomic and ecological purposes: a case study for flowering deserts - ‘Biodosimetry’

Research project BL/C/35 (Research action BL)

Contract BL/16/C35 :

Duration of the contract :


Partners :

  • Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech 
  • Dalian Nationalities University 
  • Nanjing University 
  • Université Catholique de Louvain 

Description :

Context and objectives

The development of menkind has reached the point that a variety of new resources need to be trapped in order to fill our basic needs for food, feed and energy. Each year, an important portion of agricultural utilized areas is lost as a consequence of desertification and salinization problems. The use of xero-halophyte (drought- and salt resistant plants) species may contribute to use desertic lands where no other plants are able to grow and to save good quality water for human consumption. Halophytes may be used in land that has not been forested or farmed and afford beneficial side effects since they can aid in revegetating arid regions, restore ecological biodiversity and improve mesoscale climatic parameters. However, their rational use is greatly hampered by: 1) Our insufficient knowledge about the specificity of physiological and biochemical mechanisms which allow halophyte species to cope with environmental constraint, 2) The important intra-specific biodiversity of most halophytes species.
The aim of the project is to determine the putative interests of a halophyte species (Koztleletskya virginica) present in China for alternative agricultural production and for revegetation of salt-affected desertic lands.


• The project is based on a set of integrated tasks that consider physiological responses of K. virginica to stress, mode of reproduction and seed set in agronomic conditions, and genetic diversity of the species in the context of agronomic selection,
• Physiology: kinetic of growth in semi natural environment; ion accumulation, water and osmotic potential, organic compound analysis, photosynthesis activity evaluated in experimental environment in lretaion to stress intensity. Analysis of physico-chemical properties of mucus.
• Reproduction: capacity of self-pollination, seed production in relation to pollinators activities in field, experimental comparisons of reproduction modalities.
• Genetic diversity: development of SSR markers to evaluate genetic diversity of introduced populations.

Documentation :

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