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QU Participates in 9th Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition | Qatar University

QU Participates in 9th Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition

ابتكار مادة هلامية جديدة لدعم الأمن الغذائي

Qatar University (QU) participated in the ninth Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition 2022 at Doha Exhibition and Conference Center (DECC).

Qatar University aims to provide innovations that contribute to food and water security in the State of Qatar. Serving the agricultural research and sustainable development sector.

The Agricultural Research pavilion resented the most important research supporting food security projects, as the university's pavilion showcased the innovation of the new gel that supports food security in Qatar. A team of researchers led by, Prof.Alaa Al-Hawari, Professor of Civil Engineering at Qatar University, succeeded in creating an environmentally friendly material suitable for cultivation in dry and harsh climates.

The goal of this innovation is to promote the new technology of the concept of organic farming, and this innovation will encourage agricultural activities in Qatar that suffer from limited fresh water resources and significant losses through evaporation.

The university's pavilion also presented the innovation of artificial coral reefs, which experts from Qatar University worked on. Dr. Bruno Welter Giraldes, Research Assistant Professor of Marine Biology at the Environmental Science Center at Qatar University, came up with this idea, through which they seek to develop marine life and confront the downsides of urban development.

In addition, the university pavilion presented the project of the first plant for algae cultivation, which is considered one of the most important research programs that Dr. Hareb Mohammad Al-Jabri and his team fought, as the Algae Technologies Program contributed to reducing air pollution, because its cultivation requires a large amount of carbon dioxide.

In a statement on this occasion, Dr. Hassan Al-Derham, President of Qatar University, said: "Qatar University's participation in the Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition stems from its position as a national educational and research institution that aims to use its research and studies to benefit various sectors in the country, including the agricultural sector, which is a major pillar of food security, and the university's role in this field is becoming increasingly important due to the nature of the environment and climate in the State of Qatar, which requires us to adapt to it and advance it through the use of technology.”

Dr. added, “The agricultural exhibition provides an opportunity for various parties involved in this sector to share their experiences and develop new plans that will help achieve food security and sustainable development while also contributing to the development of specialized research centers and opening up new horizons for researchers and students to be creative and save money. And to make a quantum jump in agricultural production in terms of both quantity and quality."

In turn, Dr. Hareb Al-Jabri, Assistant Director of Technology Marketing and the Department of Research and Development Planning, said about the Algae Technologies Project: “The idea of the project revolves around 3 main sections as follows: First, the management of natural resources, such as: sunlight, sea water and unsuitable saline lands. For conventional agriculture, secondly: carbon dioxide recycling, as the production of algae requires carbon dioxide in production systems, as they are plants that grow through photosynthesis processes and contribute to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.Third: the production of products of economic value that contribute to economic diversification for the state.”

Dr. Hareb adds, “To answer the question: Where are we now? It can be said that we are building the first plant for growing microalgae in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, in addition to our endeavor to establish a startup company to manufacture targeted materials and products with economic value to be presented in the local and international markets.”

Speaking about the innovation of the new gel, Dr. Alaa Hamdan Al-Hauri, Professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at Qatar University, said: “Maintaining soil moisture is one of the most important challenges facing the agricultural sector in Qatar. High temperatures evaporate water from Soil quickly, especially in the summer.So we increased the water stability in the soil by developing a gel material to serve as a nursery soil for plants inside greenhouses.The gel is placed inside the soil in the form of a homogeneous layer with a thickness of some millimeters close to the roots of the plant.Where the material works the gel reduces the rate of water evaporation from the soil and supplies the plants with the nutrients necessary for the plants by using limited amounts of chemical fertilizers.This technology is characterized by the possibility of producing large quantities of agricultural crops using a limited amount of irrigation water.The laboratory results showed that the natural soil contains nutritional supplements such as phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen, but can not retain water and nutritional supplements added for a long time, which negatively affects Crop health and production quantity. The developed gel consists of super absorbent polymers prepared from inexpensive and environmentally friendly materials. It is also possible to reuse the same materials after harvesting crops for several times, which increases their economic efficiency.”

Dr. Alaa added, "We have already started applying this technology on a commercial scale at the Aggreko farm in Al Khor so that we can test the effectiveness of the developed material under realistic conditions away from the laboratory. We have obtained promising results, as we were able to reduce the amount of irrigation water by 40% and increase the production of As for future plans, we intend to test the effectiveness of this technology on more agricultural crops that are grown in the State of Qatar and make economic feasibility for the project in the hope of introducing this material as a national product in the local market.The work of this project extends over three years With the support of the Qatar Scientific Research Fund and in cooperation with the University of Technology Sydney.”

In turn, Dr. Eman Saleh, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the College of Arts and Sciences, to their participation in the Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition in order to share the results of the research that she carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Muhammad Abu Dayyeh on the effect of gouve extract on extending the shelf life of fruits on the shelves with a focus on the research results on cucumber samples and succeed in extending their shelf life. The extract has proven effective as an antimicrobial and therefore a natural alternative to chemical agricultural pesticides.

Dr. Randa Zeidan, Assistant Graduate - Graduate Studies about her participation in the PhD project at the Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition, said: “The PhD project aims to explore mycotoxin contamination in camel feed and milk and livestock. Camels in Qatar and the Middle East are an important source of food, and are marketed for beneficial value. However, the contamination of mycotoxins in camel feed is an important issue referring to the fact that toxins contaminated with feed are transmitted to the tissues and milk of animals and then to the human body by direct consumption.Mycotoxins are small secondary metabolites produced by fungi, either at the level of The crop field or at the harvest level. A lot of research is being conducted all over the world to confirm the presence of mycotoxins that contaminate the feed materials.”

Dr. added. Randa: “This research project mainly focuses on monitoring mycotoxin contamination in camel feed samples in Qatari farms and how they can be transferred to camel milk and livestock. In addition to investigating appropriate biological control methods to reduce mycotoxin contamination in feed samples.”

It is worth noting that the Agricultural Research Station of the Research and Graduate Studies Sector at Qatar University is working to find and develop innovative agricultural techniques to provide the best ways to use available natural resources and meet the challenges of dry land cultivation, including advanced irrigation systems, the application of integrated management of agricultural pests and the control of plant diseases.The station also aims to develop and innovate sustainable organic farming, which includes crop rotation, and the application of sustainable organic fertilizer production in farms to increase and maintain agricultural soil fertility.

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