Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bringing Life from Deserts and Seawater

Eco-World reports on the seawater farming project in Eritrea in 2003.

Irrigation Coverage Quantity And Cost Calculator

Irrigation Coverage Quantity And Cost Calculator

Biodiesel Magazine covers salicornia production in Mexico in 2008.

Biodiesel Magazine covers salicornia production in Mexico in 2008.

Six Year Study Evaluating Salicornia as Oilseed Crop

Salicornia bigelovii Torr.: An Oilseed Halophyte for Seawater Irrigation

1 Environmental Research Laboratory, 2601 East Airport Drive, Tucson, AZ 85706
2 Statistical Support Unit, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721

The terrestrial halophyte, Salicornia bigelovii Torr., was evaluated as an oilseed crop for direct seawater irrigation during 6 years of field trials in an extreme coastal desert environment. Yields of seed and biomass equated or exceeded freshwater oilseed crops such as soybean and sunflower. The seed contained 26 to 33 percent oil, 31 percent protein, and was low in fiber and ash (5 to 7 percent). The oil and meal were extracted by normal milling equipment, and the oil was high in linoleic acid (73 to 75 percent) and could replace soybean oil in chicken diets. The meal had antigrowth factors, attributed to saponins, but could replace soybean meal in chicken diets amended with the saponin antagonist, cholesterol. Salicornia bigelovii appears to be a potentially valuable new oilseed crop for subtropical coastal deserts.
Submitted on July 12, 1990
Accepted on December 3, 1990

Using Salicornia to Save the World

The LA Times published a wonderful graphic on the Salicornia project in Mexico.

Project Salicornia: Halophyte Cultivation in Sonora

This joint program has United Nations involvement.

Brief project description:

Project Salicornia is Phase I of a two-phase project to cultivate a native halophyte (a salt-tolerant euphorb plant, Salicornia bigelovii) in a coastal desert region of northwest Mexico. Phase I is designed to research and demonstrate Salicornia cultivation on 30 hectares of coastal land. The estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits of the project result from carbon accumulation and storage in the sandy soil. If Phase II is initiated, the cultivated crop could potentially serve as a valuable source of biomass material and food (cooking oil and fresh vegetable products), and could generate income for the local population.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gourmet trend: the case of Salicornia

From pedestrian fare to gourmet trend: the case of Salicornia eropaea L., a traditional gathered wild sea shore vegetable.

Environmental Advantages of Salicornia

July 25, 2008
By Marla Dickerson

TASTIOTA, Mexico - A few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, amid cracked earth and mesquite and sun-bleached cactus, neat rows of emerald plants sprout from the desert floor.

Growth promotion of the seawater-irrigated oilseed halophyte Salicornia bigelovii inoculated with mangrove rhizosphere bacteria ...

Original paper by Y. Bashan - M. Moreno - E. Troyo


Interpretive Summary: There is a shortage of fresh water for irrigation of crops. Repeated irrigation of land causes salt to accumulate and makes the irrigated land unsuitable for growing conventional crops that require fresh water. Salicornia is an oilseed crop that can grow in seawater.

Defatted salicornia meal is relatively rich in protein. Separation of finely ground defatted salicornia meal into fractions according to particle size in a stream of air resulted in protein enrichment of the fine fractions.

The protein-rich fraction may find application in food and feed. Utilization of both oil and protein from salicornia can encourage farmers to grow this crop in coastal deserts and other areas where only salty water is available for irrigation.

United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service

Water requirements for cultivating Salicornia bigelovii Torr. with seawater on sand in a coastal desert environment


The forage and oilseed halophyte, Salicornia bigelovii Torr., was grown in gravity-drained lysimeters set in open plots of the same crop over two seasons in a coastal desert environment in Sonora, Mexico.

The lysimeters were irrigated daily with seawater (40 g l-1 salts) at rates ranging from 46-225% of potential evaporation. Biomass and seed yields increased with increasing irrigation depth over the range of treatments.

Biomass yields ranged from 13?6-23?1 t DM ha-1, equivalent to conventional forage crops, on seasonal water application depths of 2?3-3?8 m, but were markedly lower at lower irrigation depths.

Increasing the irrigation depth lowered the soil solution salinity, resulting in greater growth and water use, and hence leaching fractions that were nearly even over irrigation treatments, averaging 0?5.

Evapo-transpiration rose in direct proportion to the irrigation depth. Potential evaporation was estimated by site pan evaporation and by the Blaney-Criddle and Penman models using climatological data; the methods agreed within 15%. The ratio of evapo-transpiration to potential evaporation increased over the growing season and approached 1?5 by pan on the highest irrigation treatment due to the combined effects of high transpiration and high evaporation from the permanently moist soil surface. The best field predictor of biomass yield was the salinity of the soil moisture in the top 15 cm of soil profile, which constitutes the root zone for this crop. Root zone salinity must be kept at 70-75 g l-1 for high yields.

Although irrigation and drainage requirements were high compared to conventional crops, seawater irrigation appears to be feasible in medium sand and could augment crop production along coastal deserts. The possibility of using this crop for animal production is discussed.

Oil analysis in seeds of Salicornia brachiata


Oil analysis in seeds of Salicornia brachiata was carried out in the current study. Hexane extraction yielded maximum oil content from seeds (22.4%). High ester (538.32 mg/g) and saponification (547.52 mg/g) suggest a potential for industrial use of the oil.

Namibian Nutrition Situation Analysis

"Chronic food insecurity, recurring weather hazards ... malnutrition is widespread ...
one fourth of the children under 5 are stunted and underweight ... and 9 percent of them wasted ... (and) little progress in 15 years of efforts ..."
UNICEF and the Tulane School of Public Health report in Nutrition Information in Namibia: Situation Analysis and the Way Forward in 2006.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Demand for Plumpy'Nut Outstrips Supply

Longtime health journalist Christine Gorman of Global Health Report writes that Plumpy'Nut availability is dependent upon production.

Namibian Bioenergy Invitiative in 2007

Here's an article on a previous biofuel project by the Namibian government. The project cleared brush to be made into biofuel.

Salicornia "Foodie" Review

The collection, utilization and potential farming of red seaweeds in Namibia

The collection, utilization and potential farming of red seaweeds in Namibia
Journal Hydrobiologia
Publisher Springer Netherlands
ISSN 0018-8158 (Print) 1573-5117 (Online)
Issue Volume 151-152, Number 1 / September, 1987
Category Resources: assessment, development and management
DOI 10.1007/BF00046145
Pages 301-305
Subject Collection Biomedical and Life Sciences
SpringerLink Date Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Salicornia as Biofuel

The Science, Space and Technology magazine Red Orbit asks if salicornia is not the "Little Plant" with the "Big Answer" for human energy needs.

Carl Hodges notes that salicornia does not take prime land and water like corn does, and would not contribute to the world food shortage.

Building Irrigation Canal Video

Namibia Faces Serious Food Shortages

This March 2008 article reports how Namibia's Early Warning Food Information Unit has a bleak view for 2008/2009.

Here is the Namibian country profile for water resources.

Uranium Mines Drive Desalinization Investment

April 2008 article describes the volume of new desalinized water for use in uranium mines.

While desalinization is an improving technology, this plant produces water to produce uranium, and its social impact is not adequately comparable, much less an alternative to an expansive seawater farming project.

SWRO (Sea Water Reverse Osmosis) desalinization plant is described in this article from Miners Weekly.

MacArthur Fellowship Nomination Process

In case you happen to be a nominator for a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the nomination process is now online.

River and Canal Engineering History

The 1908 classic book on River and Canal Engineering.

Village along the Kuene River, Kaokoland, Namibia

Diamond Mine Areas in Namibia

Plants for Biofuel and Food

Fisheries Management Namibian Map

Namibian Policital Map

Seawater Foundation and Integrated Seawater Farming

Salicornia Farming in Mexico

Here is a great photo gallery of Carl Hodges performing agricultural research on salicornia farming in Mexico.

Salicornia Examined

Magically realistic work of David Seth Michaels contains great information about Salicornia.

Seawater Farming in the News

Newspapers covered salicornia and the global benefits of seawater farming in an article run by the LA Times and Boston Globe.