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-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod4
Sent: 24 June 2009 09:40
To: 'biotech-room4@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 60: Markers - mapping populations - tef - wheat

I am Harjit Singh, former Expatriate Expert/Professor of Plant Genetics under the Agricultural Research and Training Project (ARTP) of the World Bank in Ethiopia. Earlier, I was involved in the development of populations for molecular mapping/tagging at the Biotechnology Centre (now School of Agricultural Biotechnology), Punjab Agricultural University, India for traits of economic importance in wheat.

I agree with Prof. Gupta (Message 2) that reasons for the slow pace of work in the use of molecular markers include lack of motivation with those involved in breeding and lack of cooperation between molecular biologists and plant breeders. Due to lack of interest of plant breeders, not many populations for molecular mapping and tagging have been developed in field crops. In India, the success in identification of molecular markers in wheat through collaborative work among the Choudhury Charan Singh (CCS) University, National Chemical Laboratory, Punjab Agricultural University and others could become possible as the populations for mapping/tagging were already planned and developed at the Biotechnology Centre of the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. [Regarding markers, Professor Gupta's message noted that some success had been achieved in India in the development and use of DNA-based markers for marker-assisted selection (MAS) in crops; briefly described some varieties that had been developed with MAS; and, finally, considered why the pace of success had nevertheless been slow...Moderator].

Leaders in the above said collaborative program on wheat had been successful in motivating postgraduate students/postdoctoral students to work towards development of molecular markers for MAS in bread-wheat. More interaction between plant breeders and molecular biologists would lead to conceptualization and development of mapping/tagging populations in the field crops of interest to the developing countries.

For example, Tef (Eragrostis tef) is one of the main cereal food crops in Ethiopia, which is largely grown in Ethiopia only. Obviously, other countries may not have priority to initiate work on molecular mapping/tagging in this crop. Fortunately, breeders at the Melkassa Agricultural Research Center, Nazreth, Ethiopia could realize this need and developed recombinant inbred (RIL) populations from intraspecific and interspecific crosses. This led to development of molecular genetic map and quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of agronomic traits in Tef in collaboration with Cornell University, USA. In the absence of such populations conceived and developed, there would have been no molecular genetic studies in the crop of this developing country. This indicates the importance of development of populations themselves by the breeders of developing countries even if they, for the time being, lack full-fledged facilities to do molecular work themselves. Motivation of postgraduate students at the Haramaya University, Ethiopia led to development of mapping populations in other crops of interest to Ethiopia.

Another good news is that developing countries like India have developed some populations for basic research useful in genetic enhancement of crops like wheat. Development of a recombinant inbred (RIL) population from a cross of Triticum boeoticum (AbAb - a diploid wild species) and Triticum monococcum (AA - a cultivated diploid wheat species) at the Punjab Agricultural University, India has lead to development of a molecular linkage map at diploid level in wheat (through Swiss funded international collaboration). Development of similar populations involving related species of crops of interest to the developing countries would go in a long way to strengthen crop genetic enhancement in the third world.

Harjit Singh
Telephone: 1-905-9152183
E-mail: harjit1770 (at) yahoo.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod4
Sent: 24 June 2009 10:43
To: 'biotech-room4@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 61: Starter cultures - fermentation

This is Dr Adewale Olusegun Obadina, Nigeria, again.

The fermentation process of indigenous fermented foods in developing countries is more craft-based rather than a technology-driven process. Hence it relies more on labor than mechanization and science. Hence the critical success factor depends on how to drive the industry from art to technology driven fermentation. Some of these factors that can contribute to the success are basic infrastructure of suitably equipped laboratories, constant supply of good quality water and reliable power supplies, institutional capacity to facilitate research and development and government supportive national policies.

Starter culture development is one of the steps towards the transition from art to technology driven fermentation system. Part of the successes can be traced to the

- Production of more starters (koji starter) for soy sauce

- Production of safer indigenous fermented pork sausage (Nham)

All in Asian countries, but there is still a large gap in the development of starter cultures for almost all the indigenous fermented foods in Africa and some in Asia such as Som Fug. Even though the important microorganisms for their fermentation have been identified, no attempt was made to develop them into starter culture. One reason for the failure is because the industry is still at the household level and the manufacturers do not see the benefit of starter culture technology but view the technology as the burden to the cost of production.

[A starter, or starter culture, is a culture containing microorganisms used to start a food fermentation. Production of soy sauce involves 2 fermentation steps, koji fermentation and morami fermentation. The Aspergillus fungus is used in koji fermentation and starter cultures have been developed for this purpose. Nham is an indigenous fermented pork sausage in Southeast Asia prepared from ground pork, pork rinds, garlic, cooked rice, salt, chilli, sugar, pepper and sodium nitrite. Starter culture technology has been introduced to the commercial production of Nham which has greatly improved the quality and safety of Nham. Som Fug is a traditional fermented fish paste - fermentation takes about 2-4 days at ambient temperature and tends to be dominated by lactic acid bacteria...Moderator].

In view of the potential of application of biotechnology to alleviate the problems of food security in developing countries, there is need to improve traditional fermentation process and products in these countries. Way-forward:
(a) Funding support for research. That is, more research is needed on process standardization and controls, and nutritional benefits of fermented foods.
(b) There is need for capacity building on biotechnology and especially on starter culture technology. There is a dearth of trained manpower in many developing countries with knowledge of biotechnology. This may account for the low development and adoption of this technology in these regions.
(c) The traditional processing of many fermented foods in Africa countries has been found to be tedious and time consuming. This is due to the poor and crude fermentation equipment used in many cases. Fermenters (bioreactors) with control parameters will need to be developed for the various fermentation processes.
(d) Awareness: There is need to promote the awareness among the society on the beneficial potentials of biotechnology and the need to improve traditional food biotechnology with modern day knowledge.

Dr Adewale Olusegun Obadina
Department of Food Science and Technology,
Bells University of Technology,
P.M.B. 1015,
obadinaw (at) yahoo.co.uk

-----Original Message-----
From: Biotech-Mod4
Sent: 24 June 2009 18:20
To: 'biotech-room4@mailserv.fao.org'
Subject: 62: El Salvador - tissue culture

My name is Mario Antonio Orellana Nunez, I am working at the Universidad de El Salvador, single public university of El Salvador, and the oldest too. I have been working in biotechnology since 1986, specifically in tissue culture.

Our experience about the biotechnology in the last 20 years is a little difficult. In our university, we worked on this subject since 1986 in the class and some activity in the laboratory. We were the first institution that created the first laboratory in tissue culture, then continued others. In this moment, I think that we have seven laboratories in tissue culture in our country. In 1989, we held the first national meeting "workshop" about tissue culture with others institutions and then 1991 the first national "congress".

In our country we worked in the different laboratories in the liberation of plants for farmers. In our university, we worked on plants free of Pseudomona solanacearun, specifically Musa BBA type bugloe (in the university) and other laboratories worked with virus-free plants of potato and other laboratories worked with sugar cane, varieties purified. All these plants were provided to the farmers. There is one private laboratory that is working with Musa sps and they are working with farmers. They provide genetically uniform plants. Other laboratory are working only on coffee plants. They work on hybrid coffee plants and then are reproduced by tissue culture and then the plants are distributed to some farmers for the evaluation.

In our university, we don't have a specific institution about biotechnology and in the country too. We have people that have postgraduate in biotechnology but they are working in different activities and they do not have a common center. We have at the university one laboratory of molecular biology in health and two laboratories of tissue culture. In summary, we haven't advanced in biotechnology like other countries in our region such as Costa Rica.

About the modern biotechnology in our country, I think that we have only 3 labs about molecular biology and I am not very sure, but I think that we don't have some activity about genetic engineering.

We need more support as country and university too. The biotechnology is important for our country, because we can use differents tools for the agriculture.

Mario Antonio Orellana Nunez.
Universidad de El Salvador
Facultad de Ciencias Agronomicas.
Departamento de Fitotecnia.
Ciudad Universitaria San Salvador,
El Salvador C.A.
Telfax (503) 2225-1506 and 2226-2043,
cell phone: (503) 7860-6527
m_orellan (at) yahoo.com

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