Multidisciplinary Studies on a Pilot Coastal Desert Modular Farm Growing Salicornia bigelovii in United Arab Emirates

  • Dionysia Angeliki Lyra,S. Ismail
  • 07 December 2019
  • -
  • Alternative food

Aquaculture effluents enriched in nutrients can be utilized to irrigate highly salt-tolerant plants such as halophytes which constitute the best candidates for the development of biosaline agriculture. Salicornia bigelovii (dwarf glasswort) is a halophyte that grows in salty water and can be utilized in multiple ways. Since 2015, a seawater-based system has been implemented in a coastal desert area in Umm Al Quwain in the United Arab Emirates, exploring the growth potential of four high-yielding S. bigelovii genotypes using four saline water treatments (seawater; canal water which is the drainage water coming from a marine research station that flows into a mangrove area; and aquaculture effluents from tilapia and sherry farming) and two types of irrigation system: bubblers and open pipes. Results showed that by selecting the suitable S. bigelovii germplasm combined with appropriate water and soil management practices, proper growth of salicornia plantation could be achieved in a coastal desert ecosystem. However, continuous exploration of the long-term environmental impact of implementing saline water resources and improvement of the economic sustainability of such biosaline production systems are needed.