Outlines in Seagrassponics
The Problem and the Potential.
There are still no reported cases of seagrass hydroponic fodders raised that have been described for land-based systems, as with goataries, for example, to produce milk, meat and other animal products and further to those for purposes of diversifying with added-value products.
The potential for cropping seagrases would be based on land area, growth rate of species and feedstock yield (tons/ha.), at given growth conditions. Hydroponics is going to be the predicted revolution for sustainable C-sink fodders, energy and biomaterials using available wetlands and coastal resources. These include species cultivated or gathered as beach littoral for animal production for livestock and fish. Seagrasses and duckweed have already been earmarked for growth and harvest in this way.
Seagrasspharming, as it may be referred to, is a novel and economically viable approach to producing bulk food nutritionals, pharma such as plant-based vaccines and animal feed additives for better nurtrition and growth (e. g. hormones and growth promoters).
Diversifying to produce potentially lucrative nutraceuticals, e. g. s. fructan sweetener in the rhizomes and arachidenoic acid (a specialized fatty acid) in the leaves and lanosterol, as a base material for eventual drug research and manufacturing for Vit D metabolism in health are possible developments in R & D.
Seagrass fodders fed to produce boosted milk protein food products with touted medicinal properties (e. g. for heart-health as an anti-chronic inflammatory) is an application for future use.
Biology of Seagrasses.
Seagrass leaves have no stomata but have a thin cuticle to allow gas and nutrient exchange. They absorb dissolved carbon dioxide and utilize the oxygen from photosynthesis. Seagrass reproduce vegetatively with rhizomes and off shoots and form dense mats and also through pollen-bearing sea currents or what are referred to as spikes high above the sea floor. Much is yet to be learned about how pollen mother cells function and to how they respond to secondary plant alkaloids which acts as selective herbicides to them in Lilium.
Using Wetlands or Coastal Resources for Feed and Biofuels.
Coastal areas around the world of which a good example where ethnobotanic practices already exist are in the Indian sub-continent that are land-based which hopefully will spearhead future research activities elsewhere in places like Australia, the Philippine Islands, Canada's Vancouver Island and West Coast and the rest of Oceania, in the Pacific Rim.
Two varieties of seagrasses for extracted bio-diesel and bio-kerosene boosted by as much as 22X to as much as 100X expected expression levels will be planted and extracted from their leaves and rhizomes and offshoots, namely, Halophila gaudichaudii and Cymodocea serrulata, respectively.
Each "fraction" will be separately disrupted, after washing, through a mouton grinder to effect cellular disruption and the latter fraction extracted with solvent isopentenol to yield a waxy white filter cake using pressure filtration through a thick, reinforced glass-sintered funnel at the molecular weight (MW) cut-off point (at C-18). The rest former fractions are to be extracted in acetone, butanol and ethanol (ABE) solvent. The resulting waxy long-chain alcohol filter cake is collected, dried (100 deg C) and then catalytically treated either without catalyst under high temperature and pressure or at lower temperature and pressure with catalyst into smaller molecules with zeolites or alumino-silicates to produce bio-kerosene, a mixture of C6-C16 molecules. (See: Genus.wix.com.)
A Semi-intensive and Sustainable Technology for Semi- and Industrialized Settings.
The use of a filtration, recirculated pool with a reflective polymer coating for "paddies" will form the base below and ramped up above with pods 6' x 12' x 3' or holding cells fitted in place via semi-automated heavy-duty jack lifts fitted out with matted mesh covers and the media mixed via sparging; the pods will be likely made of a polymaterial with a heavy-duty reinforced Nalgene (R)-like material of given shelf-life capable of withstanding the given stress thus preventing a serious emergency bio-spillage or enviro-contamination. The pod's media are organic sustainable inputs of seaweed soluble extract, organic calcium, organic N-P-K, and micronutrients; guano or bat dung for its restricted phase with P-K, vitamin and macro/microminerals with growth hormones and manually charged from aquaponically grown plantlet mats, and upon harvest drained, refiltered and recirculated to fill upon recharging with plantlets and nutrified marine media. Media is sparged again with a CO2/O2 line and kept lit from an awning with LED lighting 24/7. From the grid, geothermal electricity is supplied for irradiation of lamps (lambda=visible light) for photosynthesis.
Requisite seasonal handlers for planting and maintenance that pond technology presents in their infrastructure and harvesting with downstream processing for farming systems management (e g. goatary dairy production) warrants a scenario for semi-labour intensive and lower-cost, more sustainable inputs (e. g. organic inputs).
Goatary Production in the Tropics with Seagrass.
In the Philippines there is evidence that goatary dairy breeding and production (e. g. artisan cheese-making) is a viable and growth industry. In these tropical islands, pressures on the needs for grazing area in future will impose limitations with feedstock for food by the competing population and predicted growth in goat production, which would make seagrassponics a viable and winning proposition.
In Negros Island Region (XVIII), renewable energy is now the rule with geothermal sources locked onto the electrical grid and growing use of solar power. There are new possibilities being presented for the co-production of feedstock with dairy with bio-diesel and bio-kerosene from refining diversified plant-derived biofuels for commuter transport, for e. g. the envisioned new pedicab concept car and for aeronautical applications enthusiasts will avail of bio-kerosene jet fuel and battery power. There is also evidence for growing goat meat consumption in the Philippines where consumption is less traditional compared to neighboring Malaysia, Indonesia and further the Indian sub-continent.
"De-Risking" GMO Variants (var.) with Organic Herbicides.
We recently examined the problem with "de-risking" through bio-containment of pollen from land-based raised seagrasses using anti-pollen or organic herbicides, termed here, in formulated, pre-filtered seawater-based media. Plant secondary alkaloids like colchicine, podophyllotoxin and vinblastine bind to microtubular protein structures and act as agents that stop the birefringence of the mitotic spindle fibres and division in pollen mother cells, specifically in Lilium, to take one example (H. Smith iLL-BK).
Organic herbicides and GMO var. that are bio-contained in solution during hydroponic growth to take examples already discussed elsewhere in this monograph that all can contribute to supplementing requirements for more intensive high protein output in dairy milk production are: 1) hi-sugar grasses that add water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) and increase efficiency of YATP of microbial cell protein (MCP) synthesis , 2) low-protease forages (heat-treated) which increases the efficiency of uptake of pre-formed peptides and amino acids, MCP and the YATP and for dietary protein to escape and 3) anti-protozoal compounds to spare bacterial predation and inefficient cycling by protozoa boosting MCP synthesis in the rumen stomach.
(Ref.: K. A. Williams, O. Francesangeli and J. Nelson. Using Organic Fertilizers in Hydroponics and Recirculating Culture. KSU Research.)