By Emma Marris
Nature - The two men saw a plant they did not recognize. Its plump, green seed pods resembled those of a family of plants known in Peru as sacha inchi, which produce oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids. But the pods of the new plant, later dubbed Plukenetia carolis-vegae, were bigger than those sprouted by the known sacha inchi species Plukenetia volubilis and Plukenetia huayllabambana.
Bussmann, an ethnobotanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, and Vega, head of the Institute for Sustainable Local Development and Andean Amazon Cultural and Biological Conservation (INBIAPERU) in Trujillo, Peru, had stumbled on a species unknown to science. Now, they hope to transform it into a ‘conservation crop’ that can be raised commercially in the shade beneath the Amazon’s forest canopy, without cutting down any trees.
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By Heinz-Peter Bader
Reuters – Honeybees have been disappearing, and a new report points to the parasitic mite varroa destructor as the main culprit.
A new federal report blames a combination of problems for a mysterious and dramatic disappearance of U.S. honeybees since 2006.
The intertwined factors cited include a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and pesticides.
The multiple causes make it harder to do something about what is called colony collapse disorder, experts say. The disorder has caused as much as one-third of the nation’s bees to just disappear each winter since 2006.
By Kerry Grens
MSN News — Evening primrose oil doesn’t reduce the symptoms of the itchy skin problem eczema, according to a new review of studies.
Herbal supplement makers market primrose oil as helpful in treating eczema, but “I don’t think you’ll get a specific benefit” from the pills, said Dr. Joel Bamford, the lead author of the review.
Eczema is a common skin disorder, especially among children, marked by itchy, red skin. Commonly, patients are prescribed steroid medications to treat the problem. Primrose oil initially showed some promise in studies several decades ago, said Bamford, who is an associate instructor at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth.
But when he tried to replicate the findings, he found that primrose oil didn’t seem to work….. >>Continue Reading<<
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Abstract of ScienceDirect – Research on biofuels has been focused on improving yield of the conversion process while reducing the capital cost. Currently, 88% of the US ethanol production capacity and 96% of the planned expansion of capacity utilizes a dry milling process, which has a higher ethanol yield and a lower capital cost per gallon capacity than a wet milling process. However, the fact that all the corn ethanol plants that were bankrupted or idled during the 2008 economy recession used dry milling processes while all the plants that used wet milling processes had survived suggests that the efficiency driven approach may be flawed. This paper compares the economic performances of a typical dry milling plant with those of a typical wet milling plant under scenarios when market conditions are favorable or unfavorable to the corn ethanol production. The results show that the wet milling plant exhibits better performance under both scenarios due to its operational flexibility (e.g. having starch, high fructose corn syrup, gluten meal, gluten feed, and corn oil in its product portfolio). It is argued that the development of biofuel technologies should take operational flexibility into consideration in order to absorb disruptions from unexpected feedstock supply and volatile market conditions.
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Posted in Bioethanol, Biofuel, Environment, Natural Resources, Renewable Energy
Tagged biofuels, Corn ethanol, Dry mill, Environment, Environment. Natural Resources, Operational flexibility, Profit margin, Renewable Energy, Wet mill
By José Tadeu Arantes
Agência FAPESP – Two important international organizations recently attested to the quality of the NuBBE Database, which is a landmark database of the isolated natural products from Brazil’s biodiversity and includes information on the potential of these secondary metabolites for use in medicinal chemistry, ecological chemistry, and metabolomics.
Biomassa & Bioenergia – GBS, Inc. (SG Biofuels) and Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) entered into a strategic research agreement to promote the development of jatropha as an alternative source of renewable energy in Brazil. Headquartered in San Diego, USA, GBS is an energy crop company that provides high-performance solutions for the markets of renewable energy, biomass and chemicals. It is a leader in its segment and offers the largest and most diverse library of genetic material of Jatropha in the world. The company has been working on this development for five years, combining platforms breeding and genomics.
“By aggregating our efforts for initiatives of an institution of the Brazilian Government Continue reading
Posted in About Brazil, Agricultural Research in Brazil, Biofuel, Emerging Themes and Issues, Genetic resources, Natural Resources, Renewable Energy, Small Farm
Tagged Biodiversity, Biofuel, climate, Embrapa Agroenergy, Energy Renewable, Environment, jatropha
By Yuri Vasconcellos
FAPESP - The solution for Brazil increasing its sugar and ethanol production by up to 50%, without needing to plant one more additional square meter of sugar cane may lie at the bottom of the sea. The amount that the country is likely to produce this year is 37 million tons of sugar and 23.6 billion liters of ethanol. Studies carried out by the Federal University of Lavras (Ufla), in Minas Gerais State, in partnership with TWB Mineração, whose headquarters are in Guarujá, on the coast of São Paulo, have revealed that the use of biofertilizer made from calcareous marine algae, called bioclastic granulate, is capable of generating a significant gain in productivity in sugar plantations because it raises the plant’s sugar concentration, or sucrose.
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Source and Photo: FAPESP, July 2012
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By Elizabeth Pennisi
Science - Trees may stand tall and majestic and endure for centuries, but many are living on the edge: New research has shown that the more climate dries out—a predicted consequence of global change in many places—the more likely water transport systems of many trees are to fail. “We can expect more forest diebacks,” says Bettina Engelbrecht, a tropical forest ecologist at the University of Bayreuth in Germany who was not involved with the work. “No forest is immune.” …. >>Read more<<
Source and Photos: Science, November 21st, 2012
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By Dane Smith
The Guardian – In “Creating Shared Value,” the Harvard Business Review cover story written by FSG co-founders Michael Porter andMark Kramer, the authors cite numerous examples of multinational corporations (MNCs) that are increasing their competitiveness by addressing significant social issues. Companies like Nestlé, GE, Coca-Cola, and Cisco have increased their profits by hundreds of millions of dollars and had a profound impact on poverty, health, environmental, and educational challenges, by carefully considering the intersection between their business models and global social challenges.
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Source and Photo: The Guardian, December 22nd, 2011
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By Leon Kaye
The Guardian – Home building has long been one of the most important industries in the US, with economists viewing statistics concerning new homes as a barometer for the country’s economic performance.
Americans’ affinity for newer and bigger homes, however, comes with a huge environmental cost. The recent foreclosure crisis is just a reminder of all the resources waste on millions of homes that have been abandoned and, yet again, remodelled. One precious resource used for these buildings that often goes unnoticed and is then lost forever is wood…. >>continue<<
Source and Photo: The Guardian, July 24th, 2012
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