Measurement and Assessment of Radionuclide Concentrations in the Coastal Marine Environment

Establishment of baseline radionuclide concentrations in Kuwait's coastal marine environment to monitor and assess the potential emergence of anthropogenic radioactive pollutants.

Still recovering from the 1991 Gulf War, Kuwait's landscape remains marred by the presence of oil lakes. Kuwait’s hydrocarbon-polluted surfaces disrupt the delicate desert ecosystem. Often buried under a thin layer of dust and sand, they can be hard to locate.

Researchers at KISR initiated this project to determine if oil lakes can be located by mapping the temperature of the desert’s surface using remote-sensing technologies. The researchers found that terrestrial surface temperature measurements can be used as a reliable indicator for the identification and monitoring of hydrocarbon-polluted surfaces as well as accurately identifying the location of hydrocarbon residue.   

Assessment of Childhood Obesity in Kuwait Using Stable Isotope Techniques

Assessment of total body water (TBW) in children using the deuterium dilution technique with analysis of urine samples by isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS).

Current research indicates that diagnoses of nutrition-related diseases, such as diabetes, are increasing among Kuwait's indigenous population. One recent study found that the prevalence of obesity had increased  increased from 10% and 11% in 2005 to 15% and 16% in 2010 among 5-10 year old boys and in girls.

In order to address this challenge KISR's researchers initiated this project to introduce the IRMS for assessing TBW for the first time  in nutrition and health research in Kuwait. The study evaluated the rate of obesity among 75 male and 83 female children and found that 41% of the boys and 33% of the girls were classified as obese according to the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO). The preliminary results of the study demonstrated the feasibility and utility IRMS for monitoring, evaluating and recommending intervention to combat childhood obesity.

Optimization of DNA Extraction Protocol for Hamour (Grouper - Epinephelus coioides) and Its Application in DNA Fingerprinting 

Abstract: Hamour, often referred to as Orange-Spotted Grouper, is one of the most popularly fished marine species in the world and is commonly found in Mexican, Australian, Japanese, and Chinese cuisines. In 2004 the International Union for Conservation of Nature identified the grouper as being a “near threatened” species. Responding to the need to preserve local fish stocks of Hamour for conservation and economic purposes, KISR initiated a project to establish a preliminary genetic profile of the local Hamour population. The project was established to get a better understanding of the local population’s genetic diversity and to investigate how best to cross strains of desirable traits to enhance the culturing of larger, healthier fish.

Detection and Molecular Characterization of Whitefly Transmitted Virus Diseases of Tomato in Kuwait

Abstract: Whitefly-transmitted viruses represent a significant threat to the health of Kuwait’s tomato yield and agricultural industry. In response to this challenge, KISR’s researchers initiated a project to identify on a molecular level the virus responsible for damaging Kuwait’s tomato industry and recommend strategies to limit their impact on tomato crops.

As a result of the study, KISR’s researchers were able to consistently identify the virus in infected plants. They determined that the virus transmitted to the tomatoes were of a strain previously unreported in other countries and named the virus the Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Kuwait Virus. The study resulted in a better understanding of how to consistently and efficiently identify the presence of the virus amongst tomato plants to enhance tomato production and mitigate the rate of crop infection.

Characterization of Landfill Leachate at the Jaleeb Al-Shyoukh Site

Abstract: Solid waste landfills in Kuwait require monitoring to determine the level of pollution caused to soil and ground water resources by the leaching of toxic substances. In response to this need, KISR’s researchers initiated a project to evaluate the characteristics of the leachate from the Jaleeb Al-Shyoukh dumping site to address issues related to leachate contamination and to develop recommendations to remediate and mitigate the effects of the pollution. Following the study, the researchers were able to clearly identify the characteristics of the site’s toxic substances, finding traces of heavy metals, ammonia nitrogen, and concentrations of sulfide, bromine, chlorine, magnesium, and iodine. The researchers’ findings laid the groundwork for the recommendations necessary to remediate the contamination caused by the landfills’ leachate.