Recent Submissions

  • Uncovering The Wild Genetic Diversity In Chenopodium Spp. For Improvement Of Heat Stress Tolerance In Quinoa

    Paul, Puneet; Roessner, Ute; Bertero, Daniel; E. Jarvis, David; N. Jellen, Erick; Blilou, Ikram; Melino, Vanessa; Tester, Mark; Rey, Elodie (2022-03-14) [Poster]
    Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), is a semi-domesticated, pseudo-cereal crop that originated in the Andes. Due to the exceptional nutritive value of its seeds, ability to be grown in poor soils and tolerance to several abiotic stresses (including drought, salinity and frost), quinoa has gained increasing interest worldwide and in the Arabic Peninsula. Yet, quinoa performs poorly in environments where temperatures reach above 35°C, which represents a major threat to the production in its native environment, and a major limitation on the expansion of quinoa as a major crop beyond the Andes in the context of climate changes. We are exploring heat stress tolerance mechanisms in the North- and South-American wild relatives of C. quinoa, namely C. hircinum and C. berlandieri respectively, in order to improve the resilience of quinoa to high temperatures during reproductive developmental stages. Quinoa wild populations originate from some of the hottest environments in South and North America, hence we hypnotize that they possess previously unexplored mechanisms of adaptation to high temperatures, that are not present, but could be transferred, into cultivated quinoa. Here we report on the morphological and physiological characterization of the response to heat stress in a sub-collection of sixteen wild and cultivated quinoa genotypes. Our preliminary results confirm superior heat stress tolerance of the wild relative, and pave the way to further in-depth molecular and genetic analyses to identify the underlying genetic basis for differences in tolerance to high temperatures. Given the importance of quinoa as a crop for food security in the future, and the need to identify plant adaptation strategies as soon as possible to maintain our agricultural system in the context of adverse environmental and climatic conditions, this scientific work is of the highest priority for a more environmentally sustainable agronomical system in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
  • Resource Recovery From Food Waste For The Generation Of Valuable Biochemicals Through Carbon Chain Elongation Platform

    Xu, Jiajie; E. Saikaly, Pascal; Bian, Bin (2022-03-14) [Poster]
    Food waste is commonly produced in large quantities from household kitchens, animal husbandries and food processing, which is commonly landfilled in Saudi Arabia and has severe environmental impacts (soil, water pollution, odor and greenhouse gas emission). The high-organic composition of this waste stream can represent a valuable source of energy using traditional anaerobic digestion (AD) technology to convert biodegradable organic waste into methane-rich biogas and nutrient-rich digestate, involving various microbial reactions. The economic benefit of AD is, however, sometimes questioned because of the relatively low price of methane in biogas generated, the high cost for construction, and operation and management of the biogas facility. Therefore, to extract more from high-organic waste streams, and thus enhance waste valorization, alternative technologies are emerging such as chain elongation. In this study, we utilized this open-culture biotechnology platform to produces medium-chain carboxylic acids (MCCAs, C6-C12), from heterogeneous low-value waste streams through anaerobic fermentation. MCCAs are commonly used as valuable biochemicals for various industrial applications, such as sustainable antimicrobials, biopolymer production, livestock feed additives for growth, or precursors for liquid biofuel production, and thus enjoy a high market price and promising scale-up potential.
  • Integrated Solar-Driven System Produces Electricity With Fresh Water And Crops In Arid Regions

    LI, RENYUAN (2022-03-14) [Poster]
    Stable supplies of water, energy, and food are the most essential factors to universal achievements of the United Nation s Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs) by 2030. However, the already over-stressed water-energy-food nexus is further complicated by the ongoing climate change, which urgently calls for holistic approaches to address the conflicts regarding allocation of resources among these sectors and, in doing so, in a minimal-carbon manner. This poster demonstrates a self-sustained and solar-driven, integrated water-electricity-crop co-production system (WEC2P). The design of WEC2P is based on the atmospheric water adsorption-desorption cycle (1) to generate cooling power for photovoltaic (PV) cells to increase their electricity generation performance or (2) to sustainably produce fresh water from atmospheric water vapor to support crop growth. On the other hand, since conventional liquid-phased water resources are no longer an obstacle, the deployment of WEC2P is with the minimal geological constrain. Thereby, such system has the potential to facilitate the achievement of the SDGs as it provides a promising solution to decentralized water, electricity, and crop production suitable for arid- and semi-arid regions and beyond. It thus represents a meaningful contribution to the global water-energy-food nexus.
  • Development Of Algal Biotechnology In The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia

    Mhedhbi, Emna (2022-03-14) [Poster]
    Aquaculture in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is considered as a very promising sector for food production, food security, and employment opportunities. The Government of Saudi Arabia has granted Beacon Development (BD) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) to develop the project entitled Development of Algal Biotechnology in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (DABKSA). The project aims to establish the Algal Biotechnology industry in the Kingdom and has the primary goal of developing the technologies required to produce raw materials (proteins and oils) for animal feeds (especially fish), using local microalgae and macroalgae (seaweeds) species. Microalgae are recognized as worthy use for food additives, biological sequestration of CO2, wastewater treatment, and human health applications. Thus, DABKSA staff are currently performing an assessment of the potential microalgae and seaweed production using industrial side stream sources (C, N, and P) available in Saudi Arabia. According to preliminary results, realistic case scenario of microalgae biomass production for proteins applications in animal feeds, considering a 0.09-hectare KAUST microalgae pilot plant facilities can produce 2.6 tons/year, reaching by 2030 to 65,940,593.4 tons considering 100.000 hectares production plants. The projected plants will be installed next to CO2 sources (e.g. Thermo-electrical power plants) mainly on the Red Sea coast. Therefore, these findings will frame the algae production design criteria as per site identification and process selection in the country, in order to support/help the establishment of the circular economy concept, carbon sequestration, and food security for the Kingdom.
  • Improving Crop Yield Predictions By Combining Crop Models And High-Resolution Remote Sensing Technologies

    U. Altaf, Muhammad; Hoteit, Ibrahim; F McCabe, Matthew; Ziliani, Matteo (2022-03-14) [Poster]

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