UoK holds conference on saline resource management
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UoK holds conference on saline resource management

Dr Mohammad Ajmal Khan Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization of the University of Karachi (UoK) in collaboration with Salim Habib University (SHU) and the Nuclear Institute of Agriculture (NIA) Tandojam organized a three-day international conference on saline resource management in the context of global climate changes at the local hotel.

The event is being funded by the Sindh Higher Education Commission (SHEC), and aimed of the conference is to gather people working in plant sciences, environmentalists, crop breeders, microbiologists, biochemists, and biotechnologists to discuss the issues and their possible outcomes.

During the inaugural session, the UoK Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood Iraqi, and the Vice-Chancellor SHU Prof Dr Shakeel Ahmad Khan, spoke about the importance of saline resource management with particular reference to global climate change.

Experts from around the world gave their presentations in technical sessions. Prof Dr John Chessman, from the University of Illinois, USA during his keynote address, outlined the element of food security and stressed that food is the sovereign right of people. He emphasized following participatory plant breeding where the farmer has the feeling of ownership throughout the process and thereby its adaptability and acceptability.

Prof Dr Wang Sen from China emphasized about plantation of non-woody species to fight against climate change and the role of the belt and road project in Gwadar, Balochistan. He discussed the potential of grafting Chinese Jujubi with Pakistani Jujubi plants for high yield and fruit quality.

Prof Dr Jin-Lin Zang presented a talk on the lignin biosynthesis gene introduced into arabidopsis thaliana the model plant and its role in increasing the salt tolerance of the plants under salt stress conditions. Lignin accumulation appears to improve ion balance by blocking sodium uptake and selectively absorbing potassium by over-expression of the laccase gene in arabidopsis.

Emeritus Professor Dr Tim Flowers from Sussex University, UK, gave a presentation on the online database for salt tolerant plants or Halophytes, about the origins of e-Haloph along with James Aronson and about the economic uses of halophytes.

Dr Nuria Koteyeva from Komarov Botanical Institute, Russia presented the results of salinity experiments on the anatomical changes in plants particularly the salt glands that excrete excess salt from the leaf surface.

Dr Aldrie Aamir from Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia discussed the implications of mangrove loss on communities and their connectivity with adjacent habitats such as mudflats sea grass coral reefs. He stressed making recommendations for solid governance of mangrove resources including habitat management and conservation for carbon sequestration.

Dr Hasan-Uz-Zaman from Dhaka University, Bangladesh, talked about the role of different kinds of biostimulants in enhancing salt tolerance in plants with a considerable promise to increase the yield of crops.

Dr Irfan Ahmad from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), discourse the effect of salinity on the bamboo species, which are found in Pakistan. He suggested the commercial and usage of bamboo in the country.

Dr Habib-ur-Rehman Athar from Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), Multan, described the physiological and molecular mechanisms of salt tolerance in Canola varieties. He concluded that some varieties of canola are highly salt tolerant and can be cultivated in salt-affected lands of Pakistan.

Dr Muhammad Farrakh Nawaz from Karachi University informed the audience about the forest regeneration and carbon sequestration of forest trees. He said the natural regeneration of forest trees, particularly Albizia lebbeck, locally known as siris, is very slow. He suggested specific treatment of seeds to break their dormancy.

The Director KU MAK-ISHU Dr Salman Gulzar shared that the experts from different parts of the world emphasized the serious efforts to address the root causes of food insecurity in the context of climate change and to develop food and agricultural systems during the first two days of the event.

Related: UoK moot discusses biodiversity conservation issues

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