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Note, participants are assumed to be speaking on their own behalf, unless they state otherwise.]

-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod3
Sent: 01 December 2008 10:07
To: 'biotech-room3@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 42: Re: Biotechnology applications and Jatropha curcas

This is from Kioumars Ghamkhar, with a research interest in plant genomic and genetic diversity and evolution from the Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture, the University of Western Australia.

My opinions here are only my personal opinions and I am not representing my organisation. [Note, in the FAO Biotechnology Forum, people posting messages are always assumed to be speaking on their own behalf and not on behalf of their employers (unless they indicate otherwise)...Moderator].

I have been reading the messages of this e-conference from day one and found it interesting, although some messages were not as relevant to the subject as I expected.

Regarding Shashi Bhushan Tripathi's message (39), the provenance concept is not an appropriate concept for the introduced species unless they start to be naturalized. Even then, the provenance will not be detected as simply as it is where the origin of the species is. So I am not surprised that Shashi has not found any clustering based on the geographical affiliations in the Indian collection.

To solve, or at least try to solve, the problem of minimal diversity in Jatropha inferred from the amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) data, I suggest an ecogegraphical gap finding study similar to what we did in the paper referenced below. After the gap finding and targeting the gaps for future collection and finally the collecting mission, the best strategy will be to screen the newly collected germplasm by AFLP markers and see where the new germplasm sits in a phylogenetic tree or a biplot of principal coordinate analysis based on important agronomic data such as oil content etc. Then, the most distant accessions within each cluster would be selected for future crosses and breeding programs.

Ghamkhar, K., Snowball, R., Bennett, S. (2007). Ecogeographical studies identify diversity and potential gaps in the largest germplasm collection of bladder clover (Trifolium spumosum L.). Australian Journal of Agricultural Research. 58 (7): 728-738. http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=AR06359

Kioumars Ghamkhar (PhD)
Plant Genomics, Diversity, and Evolution
Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA)
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley 6009
Australia
Voice: +61 8 6488 7120
Fax: +61 8 6488 1140
Email: kioumars (at) cyllene.uwa.edu.au ; kioumars (at) clima.uwa.edu

[Dr Naima Kolsi Benzina from the National Agronomic Institute of Tunisia sends a message noting that rape (colza) is one of the crops used for biofuel, that they are doing some research in this crop and would be very thankful if someone would provide them with information/references on the following subjects about rape: crop needs (water, nutrients, pH, soil...); roots physiology (particularly P and S absorption); crop stages and needs; some yields. Please send any information directly to Dr. Kolsi Benzina. Address is Kolsinb (at) yahoo.com ...Moderator].

-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod3
Sent: 01 December 2008 11:02
To: 'biotech-room3@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 43: Biotechnology and ethanol from sorghum

My name is M.J. Vasudeva Rao, President Ag Technologies, Metahelix Life Sciences, Bangalore, India.

I am a plant breeder currently involved in developing sorghums targeted for producing ethanol from sorghum stem juice which are rich in sugars (first-generation biofuel raw material), and also develop sorghum varieties which produce lignocellulosic biomass which can become the raw material for ethanol production (second-generation biofuel). We are currently exploring both conventional genetic improvement technologies and transgenic technology to improve sorghum plants for these two targeted uses.

I have followed with keen interest the conference till now. And, I am interested to know if anyone has any views on sorghum as the provider of raw material for either first-generation or second-generation biofuel production. Also, I am interested to know any views on appropriate genes which may be deployed for production of higher sugars in sorghum stem juice or production of cellulose which is more efficient for processing.

Thanks to FAO for organizing this e-conference which helped bring so many people and points of views together in one platform, especially at times when travelling has become very expensive.

Dr. M.J. Vasudeva Rao
Metahelix Life Sciences
No.3, KIADB IV Phase, Bommasandra
Bangalore 560099
India
www.meta-helix.com
e-mail: vasrao (at) meta-helix.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod3
Sent: 01 December 2008 16:04
To: 'biotech-room3@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 44: Re: Tissue culture for Jatropha

Greetings everyone. This is Bosibori Bett, a research scientist with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Biotechnology department.

Regarding message 40 by Vijendra Shekhawat:

It is good to note that there are already protocols for jatropha tissue culture and regeneration, particularly because regeneration systems have been genotype-dependent (at least for some dicotyledons (dicots) such as sweetpotato). This is encouraging, as KARI might soon be looking at ways of producing clean planting jatropha material which can subsequently be distributed to the resource-poor farmers. In the end this may provide adequate material as a pre-requisite for any biofuel production from jatropha. Secondly, since there has been a highlight on rotting of jatropha, would there be any alternative option of producing clean material, just so that they are not susceptible to rotting? Or does it depend on the geographical area? I feel that this would be a good area to explore.

Bosibori Bett (Mrs.)
Research Scientist
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Biotechnology Center
P. O. Box 14733 - 00800
Nairobi
Kenya
Tel: +254-020-4444129/37/44
Fax: +254-020-4444144
e-mail: bosiboribett (at) yahoo.com

[Tissue culture technology is used for the production of doubled haploids, cryopreservation, propagating new plant varieties, conserving rare and endangered plants, difficult-to-propagate plants, and to produce secondary metabolites and transgenic plants. The main advantage of tissue culture technology lies in the production of high quality and uniform planting material that can be multiplied on a year-round basis under disease-free conditions anywhere irrespective of the season and weather. For those wishing to get more information about tissue culture, one free publication (1 MB) that might be of interest is "Low cost options for tissue culture technology in developing countries", from the Joint FAO/IAEA Division for Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, in 2004 (http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/te_1384_web.pdf). It describes options for reducing costs in the establishment and operation of plant tissue culture facilities and focuses primarily on plant micropropagation. It includes the basics of tissue culture technology, bioreactors, low-cost options in the design of laboratories, use of media and containers, energy and labour saving, integration and adoption of low cost options, increasing plant survival after propagation, and outreach of material to growers and farmers in developing countries ...Moderator]

-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod3
Sent: 01 December 2008 17:22
To: 'biotech-room3@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 45: Re: Relative importance on biotechnology for biofuel production - Uganda

This is Bosibori Bett from Kenya again.

I agree with Hanns-Andre Pitot, as this may also be the case in Kenya. There is an urgent need for exploring ways to produce quantities adequate to render biofuels economically feasible. Water harvesting technologies may be a good option to look into, to deal with the dry spells. For these regions, it would be good to do experiments on the agronomic performance in different agro-ecological zones, look into the breeding aspects etc.

Bosibori Bett (Mrs.)
Research Scientist
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Biotechnology Center
P. O. Box 14733 - 00800
Nairobi
Kenya
Tel: +254-020-4444129/37/44
Fax: +254-020-4444144
e-mail: bosiboribett (at) yahoo.com

[In message 34, Hans-Andre wrote: "Here in Northern Uganda, the issue is not too much about the kind of biotechnology issues discussed in the background document. It is about how to produce quantities large enough to render biofuels economically feasible."...Moderator].

-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod3
Sent: 01 December 2008 17:28
To: 'biotech-room3@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 46: Re: Biotechnology applications for bioenergy: small-scale farmers

This is Bosibori Bett, again. In response to Message 32 by Christina Seeberg-Elverfeldt:

In my opinion, small-scale farmers, at least in developing countries, need sensitisation, and participation of these technologies from the beginning. It would be good to organise small farmer field schools (groups) that can be educated on the importance, the need and how it can improve their livelihoods. Secondly, issues of prioritizing what is more relevant to them would be an integral part in trying to sell these technologies to them. For example, if one small-scale farmer has limited land for use, what would be the priority crop he/she would go for? Is it a subsistence crop, or a crop that would fetch cash from biofuels? However, in my view, if the benefits of using biotechnology applications for bioenergy outweigh the risks for small-scale farmers, then why not go for it?

Bosibori Bett (Mrs.)
Research Scientist
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Biotechnology Center
P. O. Box 14733 - 00800
Nairobi
Kenya
Tel: +254-020-4444129/37/44
Fax: +254-020-4444144
e-mail: bosiboribett (at) yahoo.com


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