Saudi Gazette – A Saudi scholarship student in Australia has improved and developed a method to recover ascaris eggs from sludge samples used as natural fertilizers for agricultural crops.

Basma Ashour Khallaf who has enrolled in Biotechnology and Biology PhD course at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, published her project in International Water Association journal.

Ascaris, or ascarid, is a parasitic nematode worm of  Ascaridae family that typically lives in the intestines of vertebrates. Their eggs are deposited in feces and soil. Plants with the eggs on them infect any organism that consumes them. Infestation can cause morbidity by compromising nutritional status, affecting cognitive processes, inducing tissue reactions and by causing intestinal obstruction, which can be fatal.

Andy Ball, Khallaf’s supervisor, said: “This is a significant achievement and great recognition for Basma’s research skills and expertise”.

Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Taleb, Saudi cultural attaché to Australia, has telephoned Khallaf and congratulated her on her achievements.

A number of universities and companies, including South East Water and ALS Water Resources Group in Australia, as well as a Saudi research group headed by Dr. Tariq Altalhi from Taif University have shown interest in the project and recognized the discovery. They expressed their willingness to cooperate with Khallaf in future and share her expertise and knowledge in this area.

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