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Thursday, July 5, 2012

High schoolers try to cleanse tsunami-hit farmland with water spinach


GIFU — High school students from Gifu Prefecture are set to carry out an experiment using water spinach to remove salt from tsunami-hit farmland in the Tohoku region.

Seven third-year students from Ena Agricultural High School will visit farms in Miyagi Prefecture, including one in Miyagino Ward, Sendai, for three days from Friday to plant seedlings.

They will return to the farms in late August to pick the spinach and analyze how much salt the plants have absorbed. A similar test last year showed 24.6 grams of salt was absorbed by around 3 kg of water spinach planted at the same farms.

Subsequent research has found that the plant grows up to 10 percent bigger in water with a salt density of 1.5 percent compared to fresh water. In this year's test, the students will plant water spinach seedlings in 1.5 percent saltwater for two weeks.

The vegetable, also known as Chinese spinach, prefers water beds and takes only a month to grow in the summer. If the root and stem are left uncut, leaves will continue to sprout.

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