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The next time you’re mixing up a cocktail at home, you might offer up a round to your plants as well.

Ethanol can help plants survive in times of drought says a new study conducted at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science in Japan. Adding ethanol to soil allows plants, including rice and wheat, to thrive after two weeks without any water.

As ethanol is safe, cheap, and widely available, this finding offers a practical way to increase food production all over the world when water is scarce, without the need for costly, time-consuming, and sometimes controversial production of genetically modified plants.

In drought conditions, plants naturally produce small amounts of ethanol. When treated by researchers with doses of the inexpensive and widely-available chemical, plants’ drought responses were delayed.

While ethanol seems to negatively affect plants’ leaf growth during non-drought times, the study states that this effect is slight when compared to the chemical’s potential benefits.

Source: Vinepair/Science Daily