Evaluation of Salicornia bigelovii Germplasm for Food Use in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates Based on Agronomic Traits and Nutritional Composition

Lyra, D and Raman, A and Hozayen, A and Zaaboul, R and Abou-Zaid, F O and El-Naggar, A and Mansoor, S and Mahmoudi, H and Ammar, K (2022) Evaluation of Salicornia bigelovii Germplasm for Food Use in Egypt and the United Arab Emirates Based on Agronomic Traits and Nutritional Composition. Plants (TSI), 11 (19). pp. 1-30. ISSN 2223-7747

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Climate change significantly aggravates the quality of soil and water, especially in desert regions such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt concluding in an alarming increase in salinity in the reservoirs of the natural resources. Saline farming rises as a promising solution, utilizing low-quality water and land resources to grow salt-tolerant varieties of conventional crops and halophytes. Samphire (Salicornia spp.) is among the most popular multi-purpose halophytes that are locally consumed in several countries around the world as a vegetable. Six Salicornia bigelovii genotypes (ICBA-2, ICBA-3, ICBA-4, ICBA-8, ICBA-9, ICBA-10) were evaluated for their agronomic performance and nutritional composition in Dubai in UAE and, for the first time, at the Red Sea Governorate in Egypt in the 2019–2020 season using saline groundwater for irrigation (ECw = 26 and 6.6 dS/m, respectively). ICBA-10 performed well in both locations with high green biomass and seed yield (10.9 kgm-2 and 116.3 gm-2, respectively, in UAE; 7.7 kgm-2 and 82.9 gm-2, respectively, in Egypt). ICBA-10 was, overall, also good in ion accumulation, total amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids content in both locations for shoots and seeds. Our results indicated that a lack of a drainage system and leaching fraction, the silt loam texture and the drip irrigation system might have contributed in the gradual accumulation of salts in the soil at Mubarak Valley at the end of the experiment at a higher level than ICBA. Apart from the agronomic parameters, higher salinity levels also affected ion accumulation, the amino acids and the fatty acids content for both shoots and seeds, whereas the proximate composition was affected to a lesser extent. Our findings on the high unsaturated fatty acids content under higher salinity corroborate the nutritional value of S. bigelovii oil. Due to its euhalophyte nature, S. bigelovii is a valuable source of minerals, amino acids and antioxidants that render it the most promising salt-loving plant for food use.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Others
Uncontrolled Keywords: saline farming, halophytes, Salicornia bigelovii, germplasm evaluation, nutritional profile, desert environments, food use
Depositing User: Mr Nagaraju T
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2023 05:14
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2023 05:14
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/12245
Official URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2223-7747/11/19/2653
Projects: Evaluation and improvement of selected Salicornia bigelovii genotypes adapted in a desert environment targeting various uses (fresh vegetable, animal forage and oil production) for the period 2019–2020, Food for the Future II—Building Sustainable Networks and Unleashing Entrepreneurial Potential in Farming Communities living in Marginal Areas, Unconventional sustainable farming approaches for salt-affected regions—Inland production trials of Salicornia and other halophytes in the Red Sea Governorate of Egypt
Funders: ICBA, HSBC project
Acknowledgement: The authors would like to thank the management and the regional extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation—Executive Agency for the Comprehensive Development Projects, the Red Sea Governorate and the Desert Research Center for their significant support and valuable contribution in the establishment, operation and follow-up of Salicornia experiments at Mubarak Valley. In addition, the authors would like to thank the technical teams for the data collection and nutritional analyses of Salicornia bigelovii shoots and seeds. The authors would like to thank R.K. Singh, Section Head, Program Leader on Crop Diversification and Genetics, Principal Scientist on Plant Breeding at ICBA that reviewed the manuscript and provided valuable comments and suggestions. The authors would also like to thank Balagurusamy Santhanakrishnan from ICBA for his assistance in soil sampling, field data collection and follow up of the experiments and Kaleem Ul Hassan from ICBA for conducting the soil analyses. Finally, the authors are grateful to Susan Robertson, Director at the Auditor General of Canada for editing the syntax, typos, and grammar in the current manuscript.
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