By Dr. Rafiq Islam, Soil Program Director
Since 2002, the Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources Program at the Ohio State University South Centers has developed a graduate research and educational collaboration with numerous universities across several continents. Currently, two graduate students are visiting scholars working in the Soil, Water and Bioenergy resources Program on their Ph.D. research work. Heba Said Ali El Desouky El Abd, Assistant Lecturer, Botany Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Benha University, Egypt is funded by the Government of Egypt for a 2-year research scholarship. Emmanuel Amoakwah, Research Scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso – Kumasi, Ghana, is funded by USDA Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (LEAP).
Heba is working on her Ph.D. thesis work entitled “Plants Response to Nano- and Chelated Nutrients” under the supervision of Professor Hosny Mohamed Abd-El Daym, Plant Physiology, Botany Dept., Faculty of Agriculture, Benha University, Egypt (principal supervisor) and Rafiq Islam, Program Director, Soil, Water, and Bioenergy Resources at The Ohio State University South Centers, Ohio, USA (host supervisor). Her research work focuses on using iron-based nanotechnology (nano-fertilizer) on the physiological processes, growth and yield of greenhouse grown tomato and cucumber production, compared with conventional and chelated Fe fertilizers. So far, she has generated tremendously high quality data to observe that precision technology such as Nanotechnology is far superior to the conventional systems to modify the plant root, stem, and leaf cell structures to improve water and nutrient uptake by plants and consequently, increase plant growth and economic yields. Some of her research slides on modified plant cell structures and fruit quality are shown below:
Photo 1: Chemical iron fertilizer effects on tomato stem cell
Photo 2: Nano iron fertilizer effects on tomato stem cell
Photo 3: Conventional iron fertilization (7), chelated iron fertilizer (8) and nano iron fertilizer (9) effects on tomato fruits
Photo 4: Heba Said Ali El Desouky El Abd
Emmanuel Amoakwah, a Ph.D. student in the Dept. of Soil Science, University of Cape Coast, Ghana is funded by the USDA-Borlaug LEAP program for a 10-month scholarship to complement his Ph.D. research work in Soil, Water and Bioenergy Resources. This is his second time to visit and study at OSU South Centers. The first time, he came in 2013 as a USDA-Borlaug short-term scholar to learn more about newly developed lab and field research techniques. That work experience he acquired at the OSU South Centers persuaded him to enroll in the Ph.D. program at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. His Ph.D. research study is titled “Biochar Effects on Nutrient Recycling, Mitigation of Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Crop Productivity.” Specific objectives of his research are to: (1) Characterize physico-chemical characteristics of biochar, (2) Determine the effects of biochar greenhouse gas emissions, (3) Measure the effects of biochar on soil quality, and (4) Determine the effects of biochar on crop productivity. Some progress of his work is illustrated below.