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 seagrasses 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 nutrition 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 posible 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 and also for some cancers) is an application for future use.
Biology of Seagrasses.
Seagrasses are broken down in 4 plant families: (1) Posidoniaceae, (2) Zosteraceae, (3) Hydrocharitaceae, and (4) Cymodoceaceae representing 12 genera with 58 known species, thus far.
Seagrass leaves have no stomata but have a thin cuticle to allow gas and nutrient exchange (A. F. Newmaster et al., 2011). They absorb disolved carbon dioxide and water to convert into sugar and evolve oxygen from photosynthesis. Seagrass reproduce vegetatively with rhizomes and off shoots and form dense mats 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 plant secondary alkaloids which acts as selective herbicides to them in Lilium.
It should be noted that in the dry season livestock are herded on shore and grazed on seagrass consuming large amounts of seed, high in starch; however, the seeds represent toxicity to animals in the rainy season (A. F. Newmaster et al., 2011).
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 Oceana, in the Pacific Rim.
Varieties of seagrasses can be extracted for bio-diesel and bio-kerosene.Bio-kerosene may be extracted by boosting previously as extracted as much as 22X, expected expresion levels; will be planted and extracted from their leaves and rhizomes and offshoots. These species are, namely, Halophila gaudichaudii and Cymodocea serrulata, respectively, based on morphology in leaves and rhizomes using transcription factor (TF) AtMYB41 (D. K. Kosma et al., 2014).
In regards to biofuel production the realization or viability in this technology with seagrases will depend in the following as borrowed from experience with algae. The following will be considered: 1) selection of high lipid producting strains presumably amenable to metabolic engineering, 2) optimization to large-scale production of biomas and 3) adopting further a diversification platform in regards to the problems or isues of energy inputs with nutraceutical or pharma products, as egs. (S. A. Scott et al., 2010)
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 presure filtration through a thick, reinforced glas-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 treated either without catalyst under high temperature and presure or at lower temperature and pressure with catalyst zeolites or alumino-silicates into smaller molecules to produce bio-kerosene, a mixture of C6-C16 molecules.
A Semi-intensive and Sustainable Technology for Semi- and Industrialized Settings.
Aquaponics, land-based, e. g. marine grasses for grown faster-growing (genetically edited, GE) varieties or freshwater, estuarine duckweed (perhaps also faster-growing, GE varieties) is being presented as we speak as a new growth delivery system with its unique system of more cost-effective, biorenewable inputs with greater sustainability vs fodders (e. g. roughages or forages, browse shrubs & trees, or procesed or pre-treated farm by-products) that are monocultured, land-based or cropped.
To process feedstock for seagrass rinsing is requisite, followed by forced-air drying using in tandem solar power available now in the Tanjay/Bais region, for e. g., of Negros Oriental in the Philippines could become a reality where aquaponics is being proposed. There are other options but green energy including electricity from the grid using geothermal energy or burning biomas from municipal waste is the choice for consideration.
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 stres thus preventing a serious emergency bio-spillage or enviro-contamination. The pods' 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/micro-minerals with growth hormones and manually charged from aquaponically grown plantlet mats, and upon harvest drained, refiltered and recirculated to fill again 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 (lambda=visible light for photosynthesis); from the grid geothermal electricity is supplied, as can be the case in some islands in the tropics.
Requisite seasonal handlers for planting and maintenance that pond technology presents in their infrastructure and harvesting with downstream procesing for farming systems manage-ment (e g. goatary dairy production) warrants a scenario for semi-labour intensive and lower-cost, more sustainable inputs (e. g. organic inputs).
Goatary Production with Seagrass and Seagrass Digestive Utilization.
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 (formerly 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 posibilities being presented for the co-production of feedstock with dairy of bio-diesel and bio-kerosene from refining diversified plant-derived biofuels for commuter transport, for e. g. the envisioned new pedicab concept car or van and for aeronautical applications enthusiasts will avail of bio-kerosene avionics 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 beyond in the Indian sub-continent.
In B. C. in Western Canada, the need for extra feedstock outside Western Prairie provinces' security needs could be met strategically with coastal source marine seagrass fodders.
To take an e. g. of seagrass, Posidonia australis, the constituents by compositional analysis shows: 19.0-20.9% cellulose and 14.5-15.4% lignin while the CP content is only 5.4-6.1% (N. M. Torbatinejad et al., 2007). Outstanding issues of biological pretreatment require the treatment and rebalancing of N content which will be discused in Chapter 15 on Urealysis.
Another study determined that calculated energy values (kcal/g) based on biochemical constituents (carbohydrate, protein, lipids) alone indicate seagrasses are equivalent to some vegetables and could be considered as feed/food (N. M. Torbatinejad et al., 2007).
The proximal analyses of aquaponic seagrasses (and duckweed) or all aquatic botanic spp. for that matter are characterized in the case of seagrass to have a cell wall %NDF of 46% while only comparably containing 0.31% (of DM) acid-detergent lignin (ADL), this compared to hay with an %CF of 28.7% (straw only compares to fibre-rich seagrass at 41.5%) and a much higher %ADL of 5.3% (straw has 7.6%) laying claim to making seagras a "prized" feedstock for animal livestock feeding.
It has been stated that the lignin acting as an internal "cement" on the fibrous cell wall's surfaces is largely responsible for recalcitrance of the cell structure towards digestion and thus we will make a comment here that proteins+peptides+amino acids utilization in the cell structure, heretofore uninvestigated, is intimately involved with the complexation and its composition in cell wall components (cellulose+hemicellu-lose) and its lignous "cement" supportive of two experimental obervations: (1) that protein in duckweed (like most aquatic botanic spp. we hypothesize) is recalcitrant to physical or chemical protection (e. g. heat, formaldehyde) (which other authors elsewhere have ascribed to they being peptides+amino acids+non-amino acid nitrogen (N) (R. A. Leng, 1995) and (2) a sizable difference or increase in Holstein heifers' weight gain of 200 kg LW when duckweed was fed 2:1 with corn silage compared to a corn silage: concentrate: grass diet (Rusoff et al., 1978), which was could have been due in part to improved digestive utilization of protein with the increasing availability of peptides and amino acids for microbial protein synthesis; part of Flores's posited theory on protein digestive utilization in the rumen and its components (see: D. A. Flores, 2013; D. A. Flores in pres).
"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 which we term here commercially as, Synthroid- Guard (R) 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 this example.
GMO var. that would be bio-contained in solution during hydroponic growth, to take examples already discussed elsewhere, 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 upon harvest time) which increases the efficiency of uptake of pre-formed peptides and amino acids, MCP synthesis and the YATP and for dietary escape protein and 3) anti-protozoal compounds to spare predation of bacteria and inefficient cycling by protozoa boosting MCP synthesis in the rumen stomach.
Although increasing C-sink capacity further in seagrass and maternal seggregation of engineered traits and/or use of organic herbicide (anti-pollinating) mechanisms, the latter to avoid pollination of male plants and propagation, are outstanding isues, we will discuss this in case study form in Chapter 17 on Boosting C-sink Potential in Crops for Fibre.
CCELSS - Closed Controlled Ecological Living Supported Systems.
In an attempt to formulate a CCELSS (Closed Controlled Ecological Living Support System) concept with seagrassponics for feedstock, milk foods from GMO cows (viz. enriched, dietetic) and convert starch directly from feedstock, there is the problem of providing in a closed, controlled space and system: bread, milk and meat for food, using hydroponics and livestock rearing. There is the problem of eventually processing chemically organics and inorganics, the need for their refiltration, and recirculation as nutrients for growing feedstock including their requisite gases (CO2, O2, NH3, N2) and irradiation from the sun. The key tetra-partite elements (viz. seagrass feedstock, milk food and meat protein, convert starch and urealysis of feedstock) consist of an attempt to make the system interrelated ecologically and as sustainable as possible between inputs and outputs.
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2. R. A. Leng, J. H. Strambolie and R. Bell. 1995. Duckweed - a Potential High-Protein Feed Resource for Domestic Animals and Fish. Livestock Research for Rural Development 7(1): October.
3. L. M. McKenzie. 2008. Seagrass Educators Handbook. 20 pp. www.seagrasswatch.org.
4. A. F. Newmaster, K. J. Berg, S. Ragupathy, M. Palanisamy, K. Sambandan and S. G. Newmaster. Local Knowledge and Conservation of Seagrasses in The Tamil Nadu State of India. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 7: 37-54.
5. J. Pradheeba, E. Dilipan, E. P. Nobi, T. Thargaradjou and K. Sivakumar. 2010 Evaluation of Segrasses for their Nutritional Value. Indian J Geo-marine Sciences 40: 105-111.
6. L. L. Rusoff, S. P. Zeringue, A. S. Achacoso and D. D. Culley. 1978. Feeding Value of Duckweed (An Aquatic Plant, Family Lemnaceae) for Ruminants. The American Dairy Science Asociation Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. July 9013.
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8. N. M. Torbatinejad, G. Annison, K. Rutherfurd-Markwick and J. R. Sabine. 2007. Structural Constituents of the Seagrass Posidonia australis. J Agric Food Chem 55: 4021-4026.
SKYENEWS: Hydrobiology has come a long way with marine grasses with proposals for aeronautical biodiesel production applications for fuel over that of the currently preferred methods of algal bloom production due to the following advantages:  lower capital and risk,  lower hazard from weather and risk,  dependence-free from potash reserves from Sasketchewan, Canada. The new limiting resource is bat guano and the question is how to guarantee reserves with the following research areas requiring attention now:  study of bat populations & caves (habitats) and reserves, with "entomology" - the study of behavior & biology (e. g. migration patterns, they may attack with rabidity the human population only when provoked, reproduction, etc.),  collection techniques of bat guano made easy from reserves,  and developing and studying reserved geographies within and around [a] Oceana, [b] the Carribbean, [c] Indian Ocean and [d] SE Asian region.
SKYENEWS: The situation with Haiti was one of fuel reserves for both domestic use and export including aviation applications. The use of tropical varieties is pinioned to weather conditions but exposure to hurricane-force winds unless the process is done in subterranean facilities in addition to above ground with all the capital inputs requisite for this. But in temperate countries like Portugal (e. g. Lisbon) there have been reports of encouraging this technology with compatible use of sheep, goat and cattle dairying with the local cuisine. Apparently, there is a need for fodders without expending more resources to paddock farming and the use of cereals with milk is extensive and the rest to butter and creamery products. Cheeses are produced profusely and cheese and antepasto is a great pasttime. Also sheep and goat hair fibroin is a traditional product for manufacturers.
SKYENEWS: Behavioral studies of bats and the recyclability of bat dung proves the recyclable tite of potash and phosphorous from elements in the guano dung are from bat concentration due to recycling of green and human waste compost with fruit tree arboreal refuges. There is a biosafety issue to be addressed via per os vaccination (e. g. rabbies) and confirmed by random controlled testing. The recovery of bat dung from reserves (e. g. caves) can be earmarked and effected via robotic hovering visualizing venture "probes" in caves and further mined or hauled via sound-dampened robotic armed truck loaders that can be hauled with heavy terrain. Further bat studies with cave habitats have to be done to study bat habituation in their habitats with any disturbance to their behaviour from sound pollution, human activity and pollutants to their habitats.
SKYENEWS: There are updates on upcoming research on seagrasses to help launch projected activities in the area including modifications using the ff. methods of hi-throughput X-ray mutagenesis, (2) test for genes in DNA via hybridization, (3) further screening for full DNA complement to stringency as the wild-type and (4) protoplast fusion with wild-type. The ff. areas will be further investigated: (1) increasing growth rate or carbon-sinking up to 5-10X the growth rate via recombinant non-GMO approaches like using auxin-stimulated growth mechanisms (a non growth factor also added in plant media), (2) boosting sugars for feedstock for feed and energy via recombinant non-GMO approaches with candidate screeners such as sucrose synthase, soluble acid & neutral invertase, and NAD+-dependent sorbitol dehydrogenase, (3) bio-kerosene for energy via suberin synthesis in roots via recombinant non-GMO approaches and (4) GMO-derived biopharma products as biocontrolled with synthetic, bio-improved agents like Synthroid-Guard (R) (see above) which is believed can and will be served as catalyst to seagrass production in future.