Salinity Tolerance of Plants


Project Description

Soil salinity is a major abiotic stress constraining crop production. We are investigating how some plants are able to cope with salt stress, to then inform research on other crops to make them more tolerant to salinity stress. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) tastes good, is highly nutritious and is a very salt tolerant crop; however, we are yet to discover the mechanisms for its high salt tolerance. This is one species that we are currently studying. We are also looking at mechanisms of tolerance in wild relatives of domesticated crops, in particular wild tomatoes and wild barley.​​
Program - Plant Science
Division - Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering
Center Affiliation - Center for Desert Agriculture
Field of Study - ​Biology, Computer science

About the

Mark Tester

Professor, Plant Science<br/>Associate Director, Center for Desert Agriculture<br/>CSO &amp; Co-Founder, Red Sea Farms LLC

Mark Tester

The aim of research in Tester's Salt Lab is to understand molecular processes that allow plants to survive in suboptimal conditions, and to use this to improve the resilience of crops to a changing environment. His attention has increasingly turned to plants that are already highly salt-tolerant, and to domesticate them – such as quinoa and Salicornia. Another focus of attention has been the stress tolerance of wild relatives of tomatoes, where outcomes can be rapidly delivered by grafting commercial scions onto vigorous, salt-tolerant rootstocks. Research outputs are now being delivered through Red Sea Farms, a company co-founded by Tester and Dr. Ryan Lefers.

Desired Project Deliverables

​Lots of good research / lots of hard work and fun.​