Aridland Agriculture and Greenery
- Animal production (sheep, poultry and dairy cows).
Research and development activities are directed towards solving major constraints facing the livestock industry in Kuwait, including nutrition manipulation, lamb production enhancement and production efficiency improvement in the poultry sector.
- Plant production (protected and open fields).
The major thrust of this element is to adopt and tailor/ develop technologies enhancing greenhouse production such as cold bed structuring for warm areas, closed production systems and organic farming for enhanced produce value.
- Soil Sciences, irrigation water.
Research focus on soil properties and characteristics, and fortification for agricultural purposes. Applied studies include the response of various plants to induced water stress, saline irrigation water and application methods for water conservation.
- Native plant cultivation and wild-life conservation.
Emphasis are on indigenous plant restoration and conservation in term of seed bank development and cultivation for use in rehabilitation and greenery projects. Wild life conservation and protection projects, including desert animal management and breeding.
- Greenery and sustainable land-use planning.
Developing Concept master plans for various landscape projects suiting the local climatic conditions. Introduction, naturalization and evaluation of ornamental plant adaptability for greenery and beautification. Optimization of ornamental plant performance.
- Application of Tissue Culture Technology for Production of Valued Crops (date palm, potatoes, etc).
BTD has achieved significant accomplishments in this area. During the past ten years, KISR has developed tissue culture technologies on mass production of elite date palm cultivars, superior quality seed potatoes, medicinal plants and native plants. This can be utilized in sustainable agriculture for of food security, greenery enhancements and healthy environment in Kuwait.
- Genetic Engineering & Molecular Diagnostics
Genetic engineering techniques are currently being exploited to identify and isolate beneficial genes, insert the target genes into plant genome, regenerate whole plant from genetically programmed cell and develop molecular diagnostics for livestock and plant diseases.
Areas of Genetic Engineering studied are: a) transgenic Plants or "Designers Plants" with elite qualities of tolerance to a variety of biotic and abiotic stress, such as salinity, insects/pests and diseases; b) transgenic animals: or genetically programmed animals (livestock and fishes) with improved growth rate and productivity; and animals as bioreactors to produce pharmaceutical and health products; and c) transgenic microbes or genetically designed bacteria to produce at commercial levels such as non-sugar sweeteners; bio-surfactants; and novel types of bacteria capable of improving oil qualitative.
- Remediation and Rehabilitation of Contaminated Soils
During the past fifteen years, the department of biotechnology at KISR has been actively pioneering research work into the remediation and rehabilitation of oil contaminated desert soil and the oil lakes caused by the Gulf War in 1991. These serious and diligent research efforts resulted in the development of cost effective bioremediation and physical chemical technologies for treatment of oil contaminated soils and oily sludge.
- Development of Soil Amendments for Enhancing Desert Soil Fertility
- Food Analysis & Food Microbiology
Research activities in this area have lead to the development of appropriate procedures/methodologies for the detection and screening of contaminants in the food consumed. Such as: detection of pork in processed meat and meat products ; detection of very low levels of anabolic residues (hormones) ranging from 1-5ppb (parts per billion) in meat and meat products using ELISA & GC-MS; detection of pesticides in foods in cooperation with the Food & Drug Administration of the United States. Research also included developing techniques for improving and extending the shelf-life of locally produced fresh poultry meat, developing value-added date products and developing of analytical criteria for the assessment of the staling Arabic bread.
- Nutrition Improvement, Survey & Assessment
Research activities in this area concentrate on the collection and generation of data on the nutritive value of foods and on the nutritional status of the population in Kuwait.
- Development of Probiotic Feed Supplements for Fish, Poultry & Farm Animal Production
BTD has recently initiated a new area of research. Its main objective is to develop effective commercial probiotic feed additives to reduce mortality rate in poultry and improve meat and egg productivity. These probiotic products are much safer to human health and environment than the currently used chemical antibiotics.
Mariculture and Fisheries
- Larval fish production
The main objective is to develop hatchery technology to maintain selected brood stock and to produce fry of important commercial species such as hamoor, sobaity, zobaidy, sheim, tilapia and shrimp. Related research activities such as continuous live food production for feeding different marine fish larvae cultured at MFD, using various phytoplankton and zooplankton species are in progress. The supporting facilities at MFD also contributed to the successful spawning and rearing of zobaidy. MFD scientists are currently involved in regulating the reproductive physiology of sobaity in controlled condition to achieve a year-round spawning and commercialization of hamoor hatchery techniques.
- Method of Aquaculture
The main thrust is to develop viable culture technology for commercial production of different important species using tank or cage system. MFD scientists have developed techniques for cultivation of sobaity from hatchery to marketable size for commercial application. MFD also involved in the integration of commercial culture of tilapia with agriculture, in sea water and introduction of improved tilapia strain in Kuwait. MFD scientists are currently working on solving the problems related to the commercial culture of zobaidy.
Fish nutrition and fish pathology.
Nutrition research activities include studies on the nutritional requirements and feed development for different cultured species at different stages of their life. MFD Scientists are involved in the development of rapid diagnostic, probiotics, vaccines and alternative disease control measures for cultured fish.
Fishery Stock Assessment.
Kuwait’s fisheries are multi-species and multi-gear. MFD’s fisheries scientists have been studying Kuwait’s fish stocks for over thirty years. Both age-based and length-based methods of stock assessment are applied to commercial fish species to evaluate harvest rates on their sustainability, and stock assessment of shared stocks is conducted with neighboring countries. Other research involves cause-effect of recruitment patterns with the oceanography group, investigation of under-utilized species, and conservation of marine resources through improved fishing gear and recommendations of effort limitation to maintain sustainable harvest. MFD has recently acquired a new research vessel, Bahith 2, for marine surveys and project oriented research.
Research has focused on their basic fishery biology, recruitment dynamics and habitat requirements, commercial landings, and effort limitation for sustainability. A data-base on catch and effort, including associated biological data, was established in the late 1970s and maintained until 1990. Ideal fishing effort, season opening and closing to maximize bio-economic return, levels of spawning stock biomass, and trawl mesh size have been recommended to the governing authority.
A state-of-the-art laboratory for fish age determination by means of annual and daily increments of otoliths was established in 1995 and regularly updated as new equipment became available. Ageing results from this laboratory have been applied to fish population dynamics, toxicology, archaeology, and environmental studies.
Improvement of Traditional Gears.
Impact assessment of traditional fishing gears, including the intertidal stake net (hadrah), semi-spherical wire trap (gargoor), and shrimp trawls, on fishery ecosystems and biodiversity has been undertaken. Based on research results, MFD scientists have recommended to the governing authority techniques to reduce ghost fishing and by-catch mortality by shrimp trawls.
Kuwait’s Coral Reefs.
Kuwait’s primary coral reefs surround three offshore islands: Kubbar, Qaro, and Umm Al-Maradim. These reefs are of special scientific interest because of the extreme environmental conditions, and have been inventoried for coral and fish diversity. These reefs have also been assessed for ecological and biological impacts resulting from the 1991 oil spill and the extent of coral bleaching due to global warming. Rehabilitation of the coral reefs and their biodiversity is an objective for future research.
Biological Oceanography/Marine Biology.
Investigations of the fundamental processes affecting marine life; marine food chain dynamics and energy flows in marine ecosystems (in the water column/pelagic and the bottom layer/benthos), benthic-pelagic coupling; coral reefs, ecology of the estuarine zone and the intertidal zone; larval recruitment studies (in cooperation with fisheries); and biodiversity.
Chemical Oceanography/Marine Chemistry.
It involves cyclic processes; nutrient (micro and macro) dynamics; the study of natural processes as well as anthropogenic changes affecting the marine environment, and record changes in the environment over time; interactions with plants, animals, and microorganisms communities.
Studies of the properties of seawater and their variability (e.g., changes in temperature, salinity, turbidity, etc.); river plumes; and physical/biological interactions. Future studies will focus on waves, tides, and near-shore circulation; the mechanisms of the water mass dynamic, transformation and mixing, including the role of climate variability on the different processes in the sea.
Analysis of solar radiation fluxes in the sea and atmosphere, including the inherent and apparent optical properties of seawater components and their influence on solar energy distribution within the water column including part of the energy utilized in primary production process; water colour algorithm development for remote sensing applications.