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. Researchers say desalinated water harms crops: report

by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) Nov 9, 2007
Desalinated water can adversely affect crops because of its low mineral content, Israeli researchers were quoted as finding by the Haaretz newspaper on Friday.

Crops such as tomatoes, basil and certain species of flower are particularly susceptible, their study found.

The report says the water's low mineral content, once considered an advantage, is actually bad for crops. Calcium shortage, for example, causes physiological defects, while magnesium shortage damages plant development.

The researchers, including Jorge Tarchitzky, a senior official at Israel's agriculture ministry, are calling for desalinated water to be made suitable for farming by adding some of the nutritional elements vital to crops.

Half the 100 million cubic metres produced at the desalinated water plant in Ashkelon, south of Tel Aviv, is funnelled to agriculture.

Israel is a world pioneer in using desalinated water in farming.

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Global pest uses promiscuity to wipe out competition: study
Chicago (AFP) Nov 8, 2007
One of the world's most invasive agricultural pests that has devastated crops in China and Australia in recent years owes its "success" to its mating habits, a study released Thursday said.

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