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Biotech Earth

First Halophile Potatoes Harvested 117

Posted by timothy
from the integrated-dill-is-the-next-step dept.
Razgorov Prikazka writes "A Dutch-based company from Groningen is trying to create a potato race that is able to survive in a saline environment. The first test-batch was just harvested (English translation of Dutch original) on the island Texel and seem to be in good shape. The company states that rising sea-levels will create a demand for halophile crops. I do wonder if one still has to put salt on ones potatoes when they are grown in salt water."
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First Halophile Potatoes Harvested

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  • Halophile (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:39PM (#32938400)

    From the title, I thought they'd made potatoes that love to molest Halo players.

    • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:49PM (#32938466)
      Those are called potato chips, generally served with Mountain Dew, and molest from the GI tract outward...
      • by dov_0 (1438253) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @06:12PM (#32939362)

        ... trying to create a potato race ...

        In news just to hand, the new race has formed a political party of Sebago Supremacists demanding new rights based on their need for 'kartoffelns-raum'. The group spokesman, Herr Kartoffelnkopf, gave a statement denying rumours of armament against field borders.

    • Me,I figured "halophile potatoes" were like couch potatoes that only played Halo instead of the more traditional channel surfing. I was excited by the harvesting, thinking we'd increase the average IQ by it, but alas it was not to be.

    • by Kohath (38547)

      Since they're Halophiles, they'll be protected from harm caused by the Flood.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      From the title, I thought they'd made potatoes that love to molest Halo players.

      Funny. When I read "create a potato race" I thought of those races at picnics where everyone runs with an egg on a teaspoon and whoever can deposit the unboken egg in a bowl across the finish line first wins.

      Except with potatoes.

      Anyway, I didn't even realize that vegetables had races.

      • by Surt (22457)

        Anyway, I didn't even realize that vegetables had races.

        That makes you the worst kind of vegetable racist of all.

      • by Muad'Dave (255648)

        ...unboken...

        Is that the illegitimate offspring of 'unbroken' and 'borked', or perhaps a potato that was not grown in Hoboken?

    • Given the number of preteen boys on Xbox live, I believe they already have a word for that.

      "Pedophile"

    • Master Chef (Score:5, Funny)

      by aapold (753705) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @12:55AM (#32941014) Homepage Journal
      These potatos will be served.... by Master Chef.
      • by WWWWolf (2428)

        These potatos will be served.... by Master Chef.

        Yeah! Right after they were first harvested in Harvest!

        (Some headlines are just confusing in so many senses.)

      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        These potatos will be served.... by Master Chef.

        Oddly enough, there *is* a MasterChef [wikipedia.org] TV show here in the UK- and the original version was around *long* before Halo came out. That's why I can't hear the Halo character's name without thinking of Loyd Grossman cogitating over some random plebs' cookery- probably not what was intended. :-)

    • I thought it was about people who liked bad breath.
  • Halophile? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Salt water was definitely not my first thought when seeing the word Halophile

  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:47PM (#32938450) Homepage Journal

    I'm guessing that they managed to coax the potatoes into maintaining their normal osmotic balance when watered with brackish water. For one thing a crop that absorbed the salt would be hard to get consistent.

    • I'm guessing that they managed to coax the potatoes into maintaining their normal osmotic balance when watered with brackish water.

      Wouldn't this lead to a build-up of salt in the soil itself? At some point, that's bound to cause problems... They don't call it "salting the earth" for nothing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by linzeal (197905)
        As long as you can get a solution going with the water you are using on the potatoes it will likely precipitate out of the soil and enter the groundwater. From there, eventually it will get to the sea.
      • by Foobar_ (120869) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:23PM (#32939076)

        Wouldn't this lead to a build-up of salt in the soil itself? At some point, that's bound to cause problems... They don't call it "salting the earth" for nothing.

        We already have regular potatoes that grow just fine with fresh water. These new halophile potatoes won't be grown on regular farmland.

        There are large areas of coast and riverbank that have no easy access to fresh water, but plenty of salt or brackish water. There are also an increasing number of agricultural areas who use reclaimed wastewater (greywater) to irrigate their fields. Finally, sea levels are expected to rise due to Manbearpig, and this will increase the amount of floodplain affected by brackish water.

        This new strain of potato is going to be grown in areas with brackish water, on or near estuaries, and probably to a lesser extent areas irrigated with lightly-treated greywater. Depending on how much salt they can tolerate, you might eventually see them being grown underneath coconut.

        • by allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @07:38PM (#32939904) Homepage Journal
          Couldn't this also be used for hydroponically grown produce? It would be incredibly useful for those that are required to spend long periods of time in high salinity areas. For example, navy ships, Oil rigs, Exploration ships and island dwelling nations?
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Nobody* is growing potatoes hydroponically, at least not with inert media. It can be done [amazon.com] but potatoes are one of those stupid easy crops to grow... if you do it on soil. Basically all you need to do is plow your field once a year and otherwise leave it the hell alone, weeds and all. Weeds mulch. Potatoes grow. Actually you can grow them in hay bales, which is about as close as you get to hydroponics in common practice. Then you just tear the bales apart to get out the potatoes, compost the old bales, and s

            • by jgrahn (181062)

              [...] potatoes are one of those stupid easy crops to grow... if you do it on soil. Basically all you need to do is plow your field once a year and otherwise leave it the hell alone, weeds and all. Weeds mulch. Potatoes grow.

              The phrase "Irish Potatoe Famine" comes to mind. Without fungicides, you can still get a disappointingly small harvest. Commercial growers use a *lot* of fungicides, and since they are illegal here in .se for non-professionals, the rest of us can only keep our fingers crossed and hope f

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                The phrase "Irish Potatoe Famine" comes to mind.

                Dan, we've missed you!

                Without fungicides, you can still get a disappointingly small harvest.

                You mean, with monocultures, you can still get a disappointingly small harvest. Nature never produces monocultures, even when it looks like it has there is always some companion, not to mention what is going on unseen underground. We must learn to more carefully emulate nature. Right now we're killing everything in between croplands to try to prevent "contamination" by animals passing through fields etc. This will not end well.

        • by b4upoo (166390)

          Depending upon how this product tastes it might be used as animal feed or even fish food it made into pellets. After all a good catfish farm still needs top feed those catfish.
          And I eagerly await a process for farming blue crabs in indoor ponds. I know that one of th great costs in salt water systems involves the power bill for running high quality filtration systems. It would seem to me that since mussels, oysters and

    • by icebike (68054) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @08:41PM (#32940186)

      I'm guessing that they managed to coax the potatoes into maintaining their normal osmotic balance when watered with brackish water.

      And guessing is all you can do here.

      How does a one paragraph blurb in an obscure website warrant a slash dot post. (And no, I'm not exactly new here.)

      There isn't a shred of attribution, no backup data, no contact information, nothing there but an assertion that potatoes were picked. Even the exif info was stripped from the photo.

      Further, its not particularly newsworthy. Its been studied before by the USDA. http://www.springerlink.com/content/x217188337503232/ [springerlink.com]

      • How does a one paragraph blurb in an obscure website warrant a slash dot post.

        Slow news day?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:47PM (#32938452)

    The National Association for the Advancement of Created Potatoes (NAACP) will fight for the rights of these new potatoes. And end the abuse of potatoes in such dishes as poutine and instant mashes.

  • Salt (Score:5, Funny)

    by Teun (17872) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:47PM (#32938456) Homepage

    I do wonder if one still has to put salt on ones potatoes when they are grown in salt water.

    Do you put salt on your fish?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I do wonder if one still has to put salt on ones potatoes when they are grown in salt water.

      Do you put salt on your fish?

      Fish do not absorb nutrients from the environment surrounding it like a tuber does. Your question is ridiculous.

      • by Teun (17872)
        Cells living in a salty environment have to filter water so the salt stays out.

        No real difference between plants and animals.

      • And what do you think they eat? Hm? Smaller life that lives in the water. Which usually is animals which do the same. Or plants which live in the salty water. Also since fish also need water to “drink”, they absorb it too.

        Your statement it so short-sighted, that even its own nose looks blurry to it. ;)

      • by Khyber (864651)

        Your answer is doubly ridiculous.

        While the fish is alive, sure, it doesn't absorb.

        Once it's dead, we can make it absorb anything we want. Hi, it's called brining, pickling, or marinating.

        Jeeze, you'd think someone old enough to use a keyboard could learn some basic cooking skills.

    • Yes, yes I do sir.

      Salt crust roasting fish [suite101.com]
    • by Kohath (38547)

      My fish are swimming in Tartar sauce.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by forkazoo (138186)

      Do you put salt on your fish?

      No. Do you put oil on your fish?

    • Do you put salt on your fish?

      Of course not. I like talapia with a little butter (unsalted), pepper, and lime juice, or a bit of black bean salsa if I have some around. Grilled salmon needs no salt. My fresh-caught walleye and yellow perch get dipped in egg wash and bread crumbs, then fried, no salt added. Bad analogy, since lots of fish can be fine without salt but the potatoes in question will likely still need salt to please most people, as more common varieties of spuds do.
  • by RobVB (1566105) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:48PM (#32938458)

    Eenrum potato resistant to salt water

    EENRUM - The first potatoes, which a company called Biemond (based in Eenrum), fed with salt water, were lifted on a test field on the island of Texel on friday.

    Biemond is breeding new races of potatoes, and together with Fobek in the Frisian town of Sint Annaparochie, wants to develop potatoes that are resistant to salt water.

    Due to rising sea levels companies expect farmers to increasingly have to deal with salt water on their fields.

    The biggest mistakes Google Translate made were due to use of the word "piepers" for "potatoes". It was incorrectly translated as squeaker and pager - at least I think it's incorrectly. I've never heard anyone use those words when talking about potatoes.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Due to rising sea levels companies expect farmers to increasingly have to deal with salt water on their fields.

      TFA surely seems to be a more sensible response than going overboard with desalination efforts...

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:33PM (#32938738) Journal
      I suspect that "salt water on their fields" in the sense of "field is actually under the sea" is going to be a relatively rare issue, except in places that are coastal already and extremely flat.

      The big, ugly, much more widespread problem, though, is going to be aquifer infiltration. Groundwater is, well, underground, so your groundwater can easily be below sea level even if you are substantially above sea level(and, even if you are pumping from, say, 100 ft underground, you are getting water from a variety of levels, depending on the exact nature of the geological strata down there. Unless there is an impermiable layer just below your well depth, you'll have some amount of diffusion from below.).

      Since virtually everyone is overpumping their aquifers anyway(though it is considered impolite to talk about it), even if sea levels stay exactly as they are it is expected that more groundwater is going to face seawater or deep saltwater(salt is a mineral, after all, and occurs in some geological strata quite naturally. If exposed to groundwater, it will form delicious brine just fine) infiltration. If the water you are using for irrigation is even slightly brackish, the salt levels in your fields will increase over time. Salt in the water gets sprayed on, water evaporates, salt doesn't, soil contains more salt. Repeat next season...

      The "zOMG global warming, seas devouring the lands" angle is an easy way to give the story a topical flavor(plus, these guys are dutch, being underwater isn't a theoretical problem for them); but the need for agriculturally useful halophiles would exist even if sea levels don't budge at all, due to overuse and misuse of groundwater reserves.
    • by vtcodger (957785)

      ***The company states that rising sea-levels will create a demand for halophile crops.***

      I hope they are better at plant breeding than at marketing. Unless they are planning to grow the potatoes under water, there isn't going to be any more market for salt tolerant potatoes than there is now, no matter how high the seas rise. Now if the seas dropped ... the exposed land might need salt tolerant crops for many decades.

      But yes, there will be a market for these in water deficient areas like the Middle East a

      • I hope they are better at plant breeding than at marketing. Unless they are planning to grow the potatoes under water, there isn't going to be any more market for salt tolerant potatoes than there is now, no matter how high the seas rise.

        True, I don't think sea levels are the problem. Seems like the real issue will be keeping up with demand for fresh water when higher temperatures melt the snow pack earlier each year and the world population continues growing. So, if you don't have to do much (any?) processing to sea water, there'd be much less strain on water resources with halophile crops.

    • >Due to rising sea levels companies expect farmers to increasingly have to deal with salt water on their fields.

      I'd add a "the" before "companies", as the original text is referring to the the Biemond and Fobek, not 'companies' in general.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's slang: aardappel == potato
      pieper == spud
      errepel == 'tater
  • Apparently they're upset that Idaho's potatoes are more famous than theirs.

    • by MRe_nl (306212)

      What's an Idaho?

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:51PM (#32938480)

    Wake me when they develop bacon-butter-sourcream-phile potatoes. I'll be the first to switch to farming for a (short-lived) career.

    • by Mr Pleco (1160587)

      Don't forget shredded cheese and chives.

      • Bacon, butter, sour cream, cheese... Why not go all the way, just leave out the potatoes, and pour pure fat into your throat? ;)

        Reminds me of that German radio comedy of a fat German soccer coach: Remove the roof of your garage, and fill it to the top with frying oil and lard. Add 10 sacks of cereals, half a truck of pork rinds and a wheelbarrow of herbs to top it off. Let it harden, break away the walls, and your Spring Sports Energy Bar is ready! Mmmmmmhhhh....

        • ...go all the way, just leave out the potatoes, and pour pure fat into your throat

          +1 Delicious!

        • by plastbox (1577037)

          Bacon, butter, sour cream, cheese... Why not go all the way, just leave out the potatoes, and pour pure fat into your throat? ;)

          I guess you're either trolling, or ignorant. Feel free to check out the blog of M.D. Michael R. Eades at http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/ [proteinpower.com] as well as his books, and "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes (and a heap of other great books, none of which I can recall at the moment).

          Natural fats aren't bad for your health. No, not even saturated fat. Do yourself and those close to you the most important favor you'll ever do and read some science on nutrition instead of gobbeling up the official nutritio

    • by linzeal (197905)
      Duck Fat fried with melted Brie for me.
  • It that like an egg race or a three legged race? One that can't be run on an ocean beach? Or, considering this forum, is it a race to get exclusive access to an object?

  • Colloquial squeaker (Score:3, Informative)

    by Teun (17872) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @03:58PM (#32938512) Homepage
    The RTVNoord article used the Dutch colloquial pieper for the more common aardappel and Google translated it to squeaker.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:35PM (#32938752) Homepage

    It's not clear how high a salt concentration these potatoes tolerate. Probably lower than sea water. The article indicates that they're trying to make potatoes tolerant of salt water incursions into ground water. In areas with low-lying coastlines, groundwater becomes increasingly salty nearer to the ocean. This makes near-coastal land more useful.

    A few crops, like "salt hay", will grow in seawater, even on tidal flats. Historically, though, the crops that will grow in those conditions are of marginal value.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A lot of the water in aquifers in otherwise bone-dry climates is brackish. This means that much of the west can be opened for farming potatoes in the future. Of course, it won't last long, as the salt concentrations will rise and after about 50 years, the land will no longer be able to support crops. This happened in many of the Mesopotamian civilizations, and is thought to be a key factor in the decline of many of those civilizations.

  • which is from Night Shift (1982)
  • "is trying to create a potato race that is able to survive in a saline environment"

    This should read "Is trying to create a potato species that is able to survive in a more saline environment than normal."

    Plants rely upon ion salts for nutrition. I can grow plants using purified sea salts (minus the fact it's missing a soluble form of nitrogen) as nutrients - look up SEA-90.

  • It's like Salt Potatoes [wikipedia.org] without all the extra work of adding salt.

  • If we choose to raise potatoes in salt marshes along the Gulf of Mexico the can arrive carrying their own oil for frying thanks to BP.

  • This is the start of something amazing, we have potatoes, we genetically change them to be xxx....what if we could have potatoes that have more vitamins and minerals then before, have so much more that you don't need so many OTHER vegetables...some anti oxydents etc...you could create a new vegetable that replaces all other crops especially for farming in third world countries....it is only a matter of time before someone figures out how, and then watch us grow...literally! We will all be much less vitamin

  • Brawndo! It really does have what this plant craves!

    (I can't believe I'm the first to bring this up...)

"It's like deja vu all over again." -- Yogi Berra

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