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Varietas Kacang Simpan Air Saat Musim Kering

Di lingkungan kekeringan dan panas ekstrim pada sejumlah zona planet bumi akhir-akhir ini, para ahli berupaya menemukan cara tanaman seperti varietas kacang tanah menghemat air. Jika tanah semakin kering, tanaman kacang menghemat dan menyimpan air melalui tingkat transpirasi lebih rendah sehingga dapat menghasilkan panen pada musim kemarau.

Begitu hasil riset konservasi air pada varietas kacang dari Thomas R. Sinclair, Avat Shekoofa, Thomas G. Isleib, Maria Balota, Hao Zhang asal North Carolina State University (Amerika Serikat) yang dirilis oleh Crop Science edisi Desember 2018 (Thomas R. Sinclair, et al, “Identification of Virginia-Type Peanut Genotypes for Water-Deficit Conditions Based on Early Decrease in Transpiration Rate with Soil Drying.” Crop Science, 2018; 58 (6): 2607).

Tim peneliti itu melakukan uji-coba pada satu rumah-hijau (green-house) guna mengetahui penurunan rata-rata transpirasi tanaman kacang jika pasokan airnya tinggi. Tiap hari tanaman ditimbang untuk menghitung tingkat transpirasi (America Society of Agronomy, 19/12/2018).

“Crop varieties that have a greater yield than others, with less water, are crucial in maintaining or increasing the profits available to growers. This may become especially important if, as predicted by some, climate change results in less rainfall occurring in less frequent events. Somewhat surprisingly, nearly all plants show a decrease in transpiration with soil drying. By decreasing water loss earlier in the soil drying cycle, water is conserved. This means there is more water available to sustain the crop as the drought goes on,” papar Thomas R. Sinclair, ahli fisiologi kacang-tanah (Science Daily, 19/12/2018).

Melalui tiga eksperimen tim ahli menemukan konservasi air dalam varietas tanaman kacang. Tim ahli menanam kacang dan menghitung hasilnya. Riset tahap berikut ialah riset sifat fiksasi nitrogen varietas kacang. “This research was a three-phase study to identify a peanut line that had the potential for increased yields under drought conditions. In fact, one line with a water conservation trait was found to have a greater yield than the current commercial line under water-limited conditions,” ungkap Sinclair (Science Daily, 19/12/2018).

Oleh: Servas Pandur