fix slider

Screening oilseed halophytes for production under seawater irrigation in the United Arab Emirates

PI: Dr. J. Jed Brown

The feasibility of growing halophytes using high salinity water was assessed as part of a larger effort to develop sustainable biofuels for the aviation sector in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This effort entailed collecting wild germplasm of the North American halophyte Salicornia Bigleovii and halophytes native to the United Arab Emirates. Plants from these collections were grown in outdoor field plots in Dubai, UAE and in indoor greenhouses in Tucson, Arizona, US. We demonstrated that it is feasible to grow Salicornia Bigelovii on full strength seawater in the UAE and produce seed, when seed is sown in the fall. Seed yields on seawater were lower than those produced in earlier seawater field trials. However, planting at a higher density should help to increase seed yield. Additionally, there were significant differences among populations with respect to seed production, with the best performing populations of Salicornia Bigelovii coming from the southern portion of the US state of Texas. We conclude that it appears to be feasible to grow Salicornia Bigelovii on seawater or other high salinity water to produce oilseeds for conversion into biofuel.