Agricultural activities use a lot of water across the country every year because many areas do not receive enough rain to adequately water the crops without resorting to alternative irrigation methods. Researchers from the University of Nevada have researched drought-tolerant crops that can be used in the production of biofuels, sustainable food and forage crops. The team specifically looked at the aloe vera plant called Opuntia ficus-indica because the plant is very heat tolerant and requires little water.
from everything Crops The university has investigated that Opuntia ficus-indica produces the most fruit while using up to 80 percent less water than some traditional crops. The fact that they use less water compared to other crops may mean that they can be grown for fuel and food in areas that were not able to grow many sustainable crops in the past. The researchers see a future as regions will become drier due to climate change, and traditional crops such as rice, corn, soybeans and alfalfa may not be able to grow due to lack of water and heat.
Research on weak pear cacti was funded in part by the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. It was the first long-term field trial of aloe vera species in the United States for five years. The yield has been specifically examined as a scalable bioenergy feedstock to replace fossil fuels. Corn and sugarcane are currently major crops for bioenergy, but they use 3 to 6 times more water than agave pears.
The study found that cactus pear yields are on par with these bioenergy crops while requiring a fraction of water and higher heat tolerance, making them more climate-resistant. Researchers say aloe vera works as a bio-energy crop because it is so versatile and durable. When not harvested for biofuels, it also acts as a terrestrial carbon sink that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.