Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Israeli Scientific Breakthrough Could Ease Droughts and Famines

August 19, 2013 9:55 am 4 comments

Professor Shimon Gepstein. Photo: Kinneret College.

A team of Israeli scientists has developed a new technology that may enable crops to weather droughts worldwide, thus minimizing famine and strife. The team, led by Professor Shimon Gepstein, Chancellor of Kinneret College, genetically engineered a plant that can withstand droughts by ‘freezing itself’ after not receiving water for a certain period of time. The plant then ‘returns to life’ after the water supply is renewed, and this occurs without incurring any damage to the plant’s physical structure.

The breakthrough came by accident, while the team was running experiments on prolonging plants’ longevity and the shelf-life of vegetables. Experimenting on tobacco leaves, the scientists were able to develop a plant that lives twice as long as the average tobacco plant. When the tips of the plant leaves were cut off, the regular plants yellowed and died after a week, whereas the genetically engineered plants stayed green for a full 21 days.

The breakthrough was revealed when some of the plants were left in the green house unattended for four weeks. Tobacco plants require watering every two to three days. When the plants were discovered they had not lost their vitality. The team decided on a series of monitored tests: Regular and engineered plants were not watered for three weeks. The regular plants died, whereas the engineered plants once again began to grow after receiving water, having incurred no damage during the ‘drought period’.

This discovery is especially significant for the State of Israel. Wheat is planted at the beginning of the winter and sprouts after the first rain, but will die if there is no subsequent rainfall. With this new technology, the wheat shoots will be able to withstand considerable amounts of time with no rain. Furthermore, many scientists forecast more common worldwide draughts in the future as a result of climate change, and this newly acquired knowledge may serve as a solution to this looming global threat.

Lastly, the engineered plants flourished with only a third of the water usually required to water plants. With water sources dwindling, this new Israeli technology may be the key for the survival of agriculture in various areas in the world.

A spokesman for Kinneret College told Tazpit News Agency that the findings are already being implemented, and that international firms have expressed interest in the technology.

4 Comments

  • Wonderful to see what people can accomplish when they concentrate on helping themselves and mankind.

  • Jeffrey Nakar

    Israel does all this research and develops all these technologies which can offer so much benefit to the world of just two thirds of its legitimate land area. How many more beneficial discoveries could it produce if the world would let it have the rest of the country. Just another sign that the world is trying to end the wrong occupation.

  • Once again the world owes a debt to Israeli scientific and technical talent. Are any of these agricultural, medical, or other technical break-throughs coming out of the universities or industries of any other Middle Eastern country? If so I haven’t heard about them.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Is a wonderful news and God had bless again the Jews and with them all humanity.Hope that Australia farmer will get on this discovery as here many of them had lost the crop and consequently the income to survive after many drought.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli Actress Says Playing Muslim Character in ‘Tyrant’ Has Made Her More ‘Hopeful, Humble’

    Israeli actress Moran Atias said that playing a Muslim woman in the hit FX series Tyrant has changed her outlook. “Educating myself about a different culture has made me more hopeful and humble, that we’re all the same,” the Jewish actress, 35, said during an interview with AOL Build. Atias plays Leila Al-Fayeed, the strong and politically minded wife of the president of Abbudin, a fictional Middle Eastern country run by a dictatorial family. The Israeli-born former model, who earned the title of Miss Globe International […]

    Read more →