10 April, 2022

Effects of superhydrophobic sand mulching on evapotranspiration and phenotypic responses in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants under normal and reduced irrigation

Irrigated agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions is a vital contributor to the global food supply. However, these regions endure massive evaporative losses that are compensated by exploiting limited freshwater resources. To increase water-use efficiency in these giga-scale operations, plastic mulches are utilized; however, their non-biodegradability and eventual land-filling renders them unsustainable. In response, we have developed superhydrophobic sand (SHS) mulching technology that is comprised of sand grains or sandy soils with a nanoscale coating of paraffin wax. Here, we investigate the effects of 1 cm-thick SHS mulching on the evapotranspiration and phenotypic responses of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants as a model system under normal and reduced irrigation inside controlled growth chambers. Experimental results reveal that under either irrigation scenario, SHS mulching suppresses evaporation and enhances transpiration by 78% and 17%, respectively relative to the unmulched soil. Comprehensive phenotyping revealed that SHS mulching enhanced root xylem vessel diameter, stomatal aperture, stomatal conductance, and chlorophyll content index by 21%, 25%, 28%, and 23%, respectively, in comparison with the unmulched soil. Consequently, total fruit yields, total dry mass, and harvest index increased in SHS-mulched plants by 33%, 20%, and 16%, respectively compared with the unmulched soil. We also provide mechanistic insights into the effects of SHS mulching on plant physiological processes. These results underscore the potential of SHS for realizing food–water security and greening initiatives in arid regions.

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01 March, 2022

Study casts doubt on water microdroplets’ ability to spontaneously produce hydrogen peroxide

Scientists in Saudi Arabia have offered a new explanation for how hydrogen peroxide forms in water microdroplets produced by spraying and condensation.1 Led by Himanshu Mishra at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kaust), the group designed a set of experiments to show that water microdroplets are unable to produce hydrogen peroxide without the uptake and chemical transformation of ozone. In revealing the underlying mechanism of hydrogen peroxide production, they hope their work will help clarify recent speculation into this unique behaviour of water.

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28 February, 2022

Recruitment opportunities

Are you interested in becoming an iLaber? This is for you then!

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28 February, 2022

Open Postdoctoral Fellow position in Sustainable Technologies for Arid Lands Agriculture

We solicit applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow position in Sustainable Technologies for Arid Lands Agriculture in Professor Himanshu Mishra’s Research Group (Interfacial Lab) at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia (Interfacial Lab).

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28 February, 2022

Open Postdoctoral Fellow position in Surface Science: Adhesion and Wetting

We solicit applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow position in Surface Science: Adhesion and Wetting, in Professor Himanshu Mishra’s Research Group (Interfacial Lab) at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia (Interfacial Lab).

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28 February, 2022

Open Postdoctoral Fellow position in Theory and Computation (Chemistry)

We solicit applications for Postdoctoral Fellow position in Theory and Computation (Chemistry) in Professor Himanshu Mishra’s Research Group (Interfacial Lab) at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia (Interfacial Lab).

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28 February, 2022

Open Postdoctoral Fellow position in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics

We solicit applications for Postdoctoral Fellow position in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics in Professor Himanshu Mishra’s research Group at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia (Interfacial Lab).

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17 September, 2021

Probing Water's Edge

Professor Dr. Mishra will present our Group’s investigation on the mysterious chemical transformation of water into H2O2 in condensed or sprayed microdroplets at the University of California Merced on Friday at 10:30 am (California time), which will be 8:30 pm (Jeddah time). Please tune in if this mystery intrigues you!

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07 September, 2021

iLab latest Soft Matter's cover

Published an article in Soft Matter.

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13 May, 2020

Congratulations to Ratul and co-authors!

Published an article in Scientific Reports.

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10 May, 2020

Congratulations to Sankara, Adair, Himanshu and collaborators

Published an article in Scientific Reports

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23 July, 2019

Adair and his Team publish a Comment in Chemical Science!

Comment on Gallo et al. electrospray work from Caltech!​​​​

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