Cactus Pear for food
Could cactus pear become a major crop like soybeans and corn in the near future, and help provide a biofuel source, as well as a sustainable food and forage crop? According to a recently published study, researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno believe the plant, with its high heat tolerance and low water use, may be able to provide fuel and food in places that previously haven’t been able to grow much in the way of sustainable crops.
Global climate change models predict that long-term drought events will increase in duration and intensity, resulting in both higher temperatures and lower levels of available water. Many crops, such as rice, corn and soybeans, have an upper temperature limit, and other traditional crops, such as alfalfa, require more water than what might be available in the future.
“Dry areas are going to get dryer because of climate change,” Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Professor John Cushman, with the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, said. “Ultimately, we’re going to see more and more of these drought issues affecting crops such as corn and soybeans in the future.”