Environment

The traditional Brazilian cactus which could solve crop drought

Scientists have found that bacteria found in the mandacaru cactus can drastically improve the drought resistance of corn plants, making it a game-changer in Brazilian agriculture

drought crop Mandacaru cactus in São Domingos do Cariri, Paraiba. Photo: Montenegro Stock/Shutterstock
Mandacaru cactus in São Domingos do Cariri, Paraiba. Photo: Montenegro Stock/Shutterstock

The mandacuru cactus (Cereus jamacaru) is native to the semi-arid shrubland in Brazil’s Northeast, known as the Caatinga. It can easily adapt to even the most challenging types of soil and is highly drought-resistant. As such, it has become a symbol of the region and its people, who remain resilient even under the most testing circumstances. Growing up to seven meters high, the mandacuru has deep green chlorophyll-rich stems and is typically covered in thorns, allowing it to retain significant amounts of water and survive through the Caatinga’s harsh dry spells.

And it is this drought-resistant quality that...

Access all of The Brazilian Report
Start your 7-day free trial.
Free trial