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Agriculture see Forum website.
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Sent: 12 July 2004 09:18
Subject: 58: Re: To create science-based enterprises and improve livelihoods
This is from Folarin Oguntoyinbo, Nigeria.
Jorge Mayer (message 57, July 10) is absolutely correct with all his dispositions. Biotech is a major key to food productivity and empowerment. The awareness of biotech potentials is limited in most developing countries and the attitude of the different government agencies responsible for development of biotechnology does not help matters. Another factor militating against growth of biotech is very poor infrastructure, especially energy. However, credits most go to some foreign instructions that encourages scientists from developing countries to visit and acquire modern techniques in biotechnology.
One particular evidence that convinced me of the fact that biotech most be embraced is the molecular typing techniques that strongly discriminate all microorganisms involved in fermentation and show their succession as the fermentation progresses, in the process identifying pathogenic and spoilage organisms. A typical example is the denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). After microbial identification, key technological parameters can also be investigated using biotechnological techniques most of which are readily available in the literature. The importance of these techniques can not be over emphasized, especially for starter cultures development much needed for scale-up of traditional fermented foods. [Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) is a technique which separates DNA fragments of the same length but with different base pair sequences. It allows, for example, separation of PCR-amplified fragments of ribosomal ribonucleic acids (rRNA) genes, much used for studying microbial communities...Moderator].Funding
Biotechnological research is highly capital intensive. Most of the work done in biotech in most developed counties research is well funded by government or intergovernmental projects like European Union projects and private sector cooperation. Funding of research and fermentation scale-up should be approached via a regional-based strategy whereby each region, comprising 5-10 different countries having similar fermented foods, can develop projects that can bring about strong capacity building and action implementation starting with research and ending in empowerment of the local production. This strategy will prevent duplication of research findings. For instance, a single project on fermented vegetable protein in West Africa can investigate fermentation of Iru, Ogiri, Okpehe, ugba in Nigeria, Dawadawa in Ghana, Soumbala in Burkina Faso and other French speaking countries, also different dairy products in East Africa etc. An international biotechnology and culture collection centre can be co-funded by the different countries in each sub-region. This centre will also create strategy for a science based enterprises.Education
It is not the name that we call our departments that really matters as earlier stipulated. The most important thing is the substance that comes out of our teaching and research findings. Education in developing countries requires a systemic approach and adequate evaluation to be able to address national needs in line with current trends in science and technology. Training and re-training of personnel in universities and research institutes are the key to teaching of biotechnology and advancement in biotechnology. Most techniques in biotech requires good laboratory work with modern equipment to cope with. Most of these facilities are still absent in universities and research institutes in most developing countries.
Dr. Folarin Oguntoyinbo
Department of Botany and Microbiology
University of Lagos
foguntoyinbo (at) yahoo.com
Division of Food Sciences
University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Tel: +44(0)115 951 6141
Fax: +44(0)115 951 6142