RUBEN BONILLA GONZALO / Getty Images
Watering the plants with ethanol would save them from drought.
DRY – No more stress before leaving for the holidays: a pint of cold beer in each flower pot upon departure could avoid many disappointments. If it causes a lot of harm, alcohol can also have virtues for nature. A team of researchers published a study on Aug.25 in the journal Plant and cell physiology which suggests that ethanol protects plants in times of drought. Even after two weeks without water.
But how did this absurd idea sprout in the minds of scientists? Why naturally water-deprived plants produce ethanol on their own, for an as yet unknown reason. They then tried to confirm the hypothesis that alcohol protects plants from high heat.
In the laboratory they grew wheat and rice, watering them every day. The researchers then added ethanol to the soil of part of the grains for three days. All were then deprived of water for two weeks. Bingo: better plants watered with alcohol: 75% survived after being rehydrated, compared to less than 5% of wheat and rice not treated with ethanol.
Alcohol is cheaper than GMOs
Well, very well, there is no longer a need to entrust our plants to our irresponsible neighbor. But this discovery could be much more useful. According to the researchers, this is a means “useful and simple” increase food production in times of drought or water shortage. And thus reduce food insecurity, which increases during heatwave periods and with the war in Ukraine.
“External application of ethanol to plants would be a less expensive agricultural method [que la modification génétique des plantes] improve the drought tolerance of various plants ”, sAccording to Motoaki Seki, lead author of the study and CNN interviewer, he and his team will soon be conducting tests in outdoor fields.
They also noted that plants treated with ethanol, before actually being deprived of water, behaved as if they were suffering from drought by producing stomata, tiny openings on the surface of the leaves, which retain water.
But this method can have a negative effect on plants, because “A high concentration of ethanol inhibits its growth. ” Beer, therefore, but in moderation. As always.
See also on The HuffPost: We rewind this summer and it’s painful to see