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Protección contra parasitos en los hatos ganaderos

Si queremos tener ganado sano y un negocio rentable tenemos que invertir en métodos que ayuden a que nuestros animales puedan desarrollar su potencial.

No ahorremos centavos porque al final del camino vamos a perder pesos.

Atentos amigos ganaderos porque este tipo de herramientas si dan resultados. 


Parasite protection using an anthelmintic or dewormer can be challenging due to developing resistance and lack of new deworming options. Timing of and selective adminstration is a key factor.

By Dr. Aaron Tangeman 
Q:I have been using a schedule to rotate dewormers in my livestock. My neighbor recently said that deworming on a schedule is no longer advised. What should I do to protect my herd from parasites?
A: Anthelmintics, which are vital to maintaining the health of livestock and companion animals, act by killing or expelling internal parasites.

An anthelmintic, or dewormer, is considered to be resistant once it fails to reduce the fecal egg count (FEC) by 95 percent.

They join antibiotics as a classification of essential medications in veterinary practice that are developing resistance to the microorganisms they were designed to control.

Pharmaceutical companies have generally had little incentive to spend large amounts of money researching and developing new anthelmintics that can result in a low return on investment.

The first new anthelmintic to be developed in more than 25 years, an amino acetonitrile derivative (AAD), is in clinical trials sponsored by Novartis and Cambria Bioscience. The synthetic anthelmintic shows promise for use against all sheep and cattle gastrointestinal nematodes.

Without new, approved, effective anthelmintics, ways must be found to effectively manage parasites without rendering the available medications impotent.

The presence of parasites in livestock is inevitable. Anthelmintics do not totally eliminate parasites but, when needed, can decrease loads and help producers maintain thriving livestock herds and improve their financial returns.

Conventional thinking held that administering dewormers on an established rotation schedule was an effective method to control parasites and prevent resistance from developing.

However, recent—and ongoing—research has called this practice into question. Parasitologists on a worldwide basis are alarmed by the increasing occurrence of parasite gene mutations that render existing anthelmintics ineffective.

They are conducting extensive research to develop innovative methods to control and manage parasites in ruminant and equine populations.

Administering an anthelmintic should decrease the host’s parasitic load. Despite the process of deworming, some parasites, in various stages of their life cycle, will survive either within a host animal or on pasture, and thus remain susceptible to the anthelmintic.

These surviving parasites are considered to be in refugia, and will compete with genetically mutated parasitic strains, resulting in decreased numbers of the resistant forms.

Because susceptible strains survive, the life of the anthelmintic is effectively prolonged.

Anthelmintics are best delivered during seasons when refugia populations are larger and can better withstand a drawdown in numbers, typically during rainy seasons such as spring and fall.

It is advisable to deworm only your livestock that demonstrate an excessive parasitic burden.
Signs that a parasitic load is becoming burdensome might include:
  • An animal in poor nutritional condition despite the availability of appropriate feed 
  • Rough hair coat
  • Diarrhea
  • Paleness of the conjunctiva or gums that may indicate anemia
  • Bottle jaw in small ruminants
Diagnostic tools include performing a fecal egg count (FEC) and fecal egg reduction count test (FERCT). If resistant parasites are identified on follow-up, your veterinarian can test for larval identification.

Because prevention and treatment modalities are continually being evaluated and revised, you should consult your veterinarian for the latest updates.

Thermally-Modified Lumber Earns USDA Certified Bio-based Product Label

Indiana-based EcoVantage LLC recently earned the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Bio-based product label for its EcoPrem line of products. This certification verifies that the firm's EcoPrem products are composed of 100 percent renewable, Bio-based ingredients, an amount that exceeds the prescribed USDA standard. Bio-based products are goods composed in whole or in significant part of agricultural, forestry or marine materials, making them better for the environment.

"The EcoPrem line of thermally-modified, domestically-sourced wood products is a superior solution to pressure-treated lumber or composite materials, which are either toxic to the environment and its people, or lack the beauty of real wood and end up as plastic waste in a landfill," said EcoVantage President Allen Holman.

EcoVantage's thermally-modified wood is created using the firm's patented EcoPrem process. This is an advanced, proprietary method of combining heat and steam to turn wood into a greatly-improved outdoor construction material. EcoPrem wood is resistant to rot because of its lower moisture content and lack of sugars and resins and comes with a 30-year warranty, although accelerated testing in Finland which stopped at 53 years still showed no rotting present. The thermally-modified wood is also dimensionally stable, resisting cupping, twisting, warping and insects.

The EcoPrem line of thermally-modified lumber products includes:
-- EcoDeck: outdoor decking and railing systems
-- RyteScape: fencing, pergolas and arbors
-- EternaClad: natural wood siding, shutters, ceilings
-- StayTru: structural lumber for deck underpinnings, docks and piers
EcoVantage USDA Certification
All Bio-based amount claims are verified by independent labs and monitored by the USDA. Consumers can confirm that a product is Bio-based by looking for USDA Certified Bio-based Product labels which in the case of EcoVantage products are labeled 100 percent bio-based.
About EcoVantage LLC: EcoVantage LLC is located near St. Joe, Indiana, where it uses an advanced, method of combining heat and steam to turn wood into a new and improved outdoor construction material called EcoPrem. The firm starts with No. 1-grade southern yellow pine that is modified through EcoVantage's patented process to become a dimensionally stable product -- one that resists warping, cupping and twisting. Thermally-modified wood is guaranteed against rotting for 30 years. For more information on EcoVantage and its thermally-modified wood products, visit or call 260-337-0338. Or for product specifications
About the USDA Bio-Preferreda" Program: The USDA Bio-Preferreda" program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and expanded by the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill). The purpose of this program is to increase the purchase and use of bio-based products. The US Department of Agriculture manages the program. Products that meet the USDA Bio-Preferreda" program requirements carry a distinctive label for easier identification by the consumer and government contractors. To learn more about the USDA Bio-Preferreda" program and the Certified Bio-based product label, visit .
SOURCE: EcoVantage LLC
        EcoVantage LLC 
        Kate Gigli, V.P. Sales & Marketing, 260-337-0338, Ext. 226

Huertos Hidropónicos Verticales

El futuro de las ciudades es actualmente uno de los grandes temas de debate. Se dice que en el año 2050 el 80% de la población mundial residirá en centros urbanos, lo que pone en duda el modelo de crecimiento actual que no está pensado para satisfacer las nuevas necesidades de la población. El suministro de energía o de agua, el transporte, la gestión de los residuos o los propios sistemas constructivos deberán cambiar para acercarse a un modelo más sostenible, para dar forma a lo que se ha dado en llamar “ciudades inteligentes”. 
Uno de los problemas que se plantean en las grandes ciudades es el suministro de verduras y hortalizas frescas, hecho que nos ha abierto nuevos horizontes a los que nos dedicamos a las plantas. Los nuevos gurús de la economía ya han hecho sus apuestas y han empezado a difundir un nuevo modelo de cultivo: las granjas verticales (“Vertical Farm”). Éstas consisten en cultivar los vegetales en edificios, en lugar de hacerlo en los campos o en los invernaderos. El principal punto a favor es evitar el transporte de alimentos a largas distancias, hecho que consume grandes cantidades de energía fósil, por lo menos mientras los camiones no funcionen con energías alternativas.
Uno de los expertos que ha dado a conocer esta tecnología es el Dr. Dickson Despommier, de la Universidad de Columbia en Nueva York, principal difusor del concepto de la tecnología “Vertical Farm”. Se trata de cultivar hortalizas en edificios, o zonas de edificios, pensados ex profeso para el cultivo. El cultivo hidropónico (o cultivo fuera del suelo natural) consiste en cultivar plantas sobre un medio de cultivo o sustrato que sirve de soporte a las raíces y donde se proporciona a las plantas los elementos nutritivos que necesitan a través de disolver estos elementos en el agua de riego. Además, como las plantas necesitan luz para hacer la fotosíntesis y crecer, ésta se puede aportar mediante iluminación artificial “a medida” que proporcione la luz que la planta necesita, todo ello movido por energías limpias (aerogeneradores, placas solares, etc.).
Despommier no solo ha puesto el dedo en la llaga sino que gracias a las redes de comunicación ha propiciado que la idea se convierta en un tema de debate en los foros internacionales. Actualmente en numerosas universidades se están desarrollando estudios sobre el cultivo urbano de hortalizas, como por ejemplo en la Universidad de Harvard o incluso más cerca, en la Escuela de Negocios de ESADE, donde un grupo de economistas promueve el cultivo a escala local dentro de los edificios urbanos.
La idea parece novedosa pero sin embargo no es tan nueva. En 1951, J. Sholto Douglas, publicaba en la India un libro sobre el Sistema Bengalí de cultivo hidropónico, en el que explicaba cómo cultivar en cubiertas y patios de edificios.
El cultivo hidropónico había tenido su auge durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Tenía como finalidad alimentar a las tropas desplazadas durante el conflicto bélico. Este sistema de cultivo tuvo su origen en los Estados Unidos, desde donde se extendió a la América central y a Europa y llegó a la India en 1946. Douglas nos habla en su libro del principal problema de la India, el Hambre. Cultivar con los sistemas hidropónicos aprovechando los espacios libres en las ciudades, cubiertas, patios o balcones, podía abastecer a una población necesitada. Ciertamente ese enfoque fue pionero, y no nació de la abundancia, como muchas ideas de nuestras ciudades inteligentes, sino de la necesidad, desde donde realmente se fraguan las ideas que cambian el mundo (justamente al contrario de la antigua creencia del “Primum vivere, deinde philosophare”).
El concepto de ciudad inteligente empieza a ser ya una realidad en nuevas urbes de Asia y de los países árabes y en los nuevos barrios de las antiguas ciudades. Este suministro de verduras desde el patio de la casa se considera de lo más sostenible atendiendo a la filosofía del cultivo de proximidad que permite ahorrar costes económicos y energéticos de transportes a grandes distancias. ¿Pero, realmente es esta la mejor solución para los países del tercer mundo que sobreviven gracias a las exportaciones agrícolas?
Este 2011 se han cumplido 10 años de la construcción en Barcelona del primer Huerto Hidropónico Vertical, en el que personalmente participé. Fue en el año 2001, dentro del Media House Project de la exhibición Metapolis 3.0, que fue creada y codirigida por los hoy reconocidos arquitectos Enric Ruiz Geli, Vicente Guallart y Willy Müller.
Metapolis estaba formada entonces por un grupo de jóvenes arquitectos que trabajaban sobre una nueva idea de ciudad. En este proyecto, que se presentó en Barcelona, una casa que en realidad era un ordenador, se apoyaba en una estructura que era la red de información que daba paso al conocimiento. Media House Project era una casa multifuncional, una micro-ciudad desde donde se podía trabajar, dormir, comprar y disfrutar del ocio. Era una idea que preveía la nueva manera de habitar en las viviendas del futuro y que hoy ya se plasma en muchos aspectos de nuestras actuales viviendas. Entonces, y son solo diez años, la mayoría de nuestros hogares no tenían acceso a Internet. La televisión era la única ventana que nos abría al mundo, de un modo pasivo, y el teléfono era el único modo de comunicarnos sin salir de casa. Actualmente desde nuestra casa podemos interaccionar con el mundo que nos rodea a través de nuestros ordenadores.
La idea del huerto urbano de Metapolis fue sin duda muy innovadora hace una década y ahora se integra dentro de una corriente revolucionaria en el mundo del cultivo hidropónico que, discusiones y debates aparte, nos enfrenta a una nueva manera de vivir. Si hace diez años la mayoría comprábamos los billetes de avión a través de agencias de viajes, llamábamos por teléfono fijo o íbamos a la ventanilla de turno cuando necesitábamos hacer algún trámite oficial, mandábamos faxes para comunicarnos entre empresas, alquilábamos películas en el video-club y consultábamos enciclopedias de tomos de cuatro kilos cada uno, ¿por qué no vamos a cultivar nuestras propias verduras en nuestras casas en huertos hidropónicos dentro de diez años?

Herd management critical

AS ONE of the leading vets in northern Australia, Dr Ian Braithwaite has focused for more than 15 years on ensuring his leading-edge clients deliver a good return on assets by concentrating on herd production systems.
Possessing a great depth of knowledge of the bovine and beef production systems of northern Australia, Dr Braithwaite began honing his skills during the 1980s while managing health and disease eradication in beef cattle across the north.
More recently, Dr Braithwaite has used his skills and experience working in collaboration with his clients to analyse their business on a holistic basis, concentrating on sustainable herd production systems, including financial management, human resources, training and rangeland pasture management.
One of the important roles he plays is being the interface between beef industry theory and implementing the theory appropriately on-farm.
During Dr Braithwaite's work schedule he sees many beef operations across northern Australia,and in his opinion the northern beef cattle industry needs to change rapidly.
He says business practices that were successful 30 years ago are now antiquated. New production systems that provide understanding of the cow herd, predictability of calf crop and various management options are now required.
The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) - originally designed with the traceability of meat in mind - now enables producers to monitor cattle and collect data when they are mustered.
The data stored and tracked using the NLIS during a beast's lifetime is becoming invaluable in managing and recording individual performance.
The successful northern Australian beef producers Dr Braithwaite works with identify and recognise the costs of operating their business, and are committed to high standards in animal health and welfare.
They are also dedicated to ensuring high standards in environmental practice, while 'sustainable' range and grass management is part of their business model.
These producers also demonstrate a high standard of human resource management, ensuring their staff are accredited and educated in modern rangeland and beef industry practices.
Dr Braithwaite says management of the herd is critical to a profitable business. He is concerned there is a dive in cow fertility in northern Australian beef herds, with many herds having less than a 50 per cent weaning rate, and many also carrying unproductive cows.
"Part of the rectification of this situation requires greater collaboration between stud breeders and commercial beef enterprises," he said.
"Genetics plays a critical role in correcting this spiral dive in cow fertility."
Dr Braithwaite says the minimum requirement for northern beef producers purchasing bulls should be to request a bull breeding soundness examination, including a semen examination test showing a minimum sperm morphology of between 50pc and 70pc.
He feels increased emphasis will be placed on the maternal and paternal fertility history of the bull in the future.
Northern beef producers should request from their stud breeders estimated breeding values that provide information on days to calving and the number of calves over the female's life.
"There is a need to select for genetic traits in Bos indicus bulls that have female offspring that have a moderate mature body weight for efficiency in rangeland farming which will be very important in the future," he said.
"Pregnancy testing heifers and cows provides significant steps forward in data recording and the ability to identify underperforming female cattle from the system."
The breeding management programs established by Dr Braithwaite's leading-edge clients ensure their cattle are ready for market early in the season to capitalise on high prices.
This model ensures cattle are sold at optimal weight and are some of the first cattle to market after the wet season, which assists in subsequently reducing pressure on rangeland grasses.
Dr Braithwaite says the model his clients have adopted provides their enterprise with a system that can deliver predictability of livestock flows, which in turn leads to predictability of cash flows, which is an urgent initiative and priority for many beef producers in northern Australia.
Dr Braithwaite says Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) recognised for a number of years that the northern Australian beef industry was experiencing structural and financial difficulty.
In 2008 MLA commissioned a beef situation analysis study on the northern beef industry and published the findings the following year. This report revealed a significant percentage of beef producers in northern Australia had been making a loss for six out of seven years between 2000-2008.
Given that up to 50pc of the beef cattle bred and grown in Australia are produced in northern Australia, this is a critical issue for every enterprise involved in the beef meat and live cattle export industry supply chain, he says.
One of the initiatives the MLA has instituted to assist in turning around profitability in the north is conducting two-day business workshops to assist producers to better understand their business.
Since June 2011 MLA has conducted five workshops with some 100 participants taking part.

The Third Way: Advanced biofuels as a system of systems

There’s a new way of understanding advanced industrial biotech – how land, capital and labor are organized, where it is going, and why. Are we discovering a new way, or something so ancient it feels new all over again?

It has been an exciting week in industrial biotech. Elevance filed for its IPO, as it chases down scale-up for its technologies unlocking value in renewable chemicals and possibly fuels. Then there was the news that Mascoma and Fulcrum Bioenergy were also filing IPOs for their cellulosic ethanol technologies, as they assemble capital for their leap to commercial scale, too.
And there was news that POET closed the first DOE loan guarantee for biofuels, which virtually seals off its capital raise for its own Project LIBERTY cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. And the news that Kansas has OK’d Abengoa Bioenergy’s air permit, and cleared the way for that project to go forward in Hugoton after that capital assemblage is completed.
Exciting times.

Industrial adrenaline – the rush of fear, or excitement?

But underneath all the excitement, one feels just a little bit of desperation – oh, perhaps not just from these companies but their competitors. Everyone knows at some macro level that, while there are hundreds of industrial biotech projects and ventures going on at least at lab scale somewhere in the world, there are far fewer that will reach pilot and then demonstration scale. Only a handful may ultimately get through the technical and financial hurdles to reach commercial scale.
So, there is the challenge and excitement of the leap to commercial scale. But there is also the dread of being left behind – and the dread may push a few companies to go forward when the IPO window, or the VC window, is wide open – not always driven by the cool logic of the technical fundamentals but by the waves and windows in the financing cycle.
It is certainly the case that a lot of companies will not reach scale – there simply isn’t the available capital or mental bandwidth for the market to finance them all.
But it may be that entire classes of technology do not reach scale, or at least the kind of scale that we are talking about when we are talking about fuels – thousands of tons of biomass per day, per biorefinery. Some technologies may serve the sub-1000 ton per day world of renewable chemicals. Or the smaller scales for exotic nutraceuticals.
Which are the technologies that – so far – are showing signs of going all the way to fuel-scale? We are seeing three.
Two are pretty obvious, though we may be grouping them here at the Digest in a slightly different way than they group themselves. Then there’s a Third Way, which we will need to go into in a bit more detail.

The First Way

The first class of technologies are the those that are, broadly speaking, using heat to begin the process of unlocking value in biomass.
Some of the most popular and well-known in this class are those that are going all the way to a gas state, and performing conversion from there. That’s, for example the class that Fulcrum Bioenergy fits into. The ClearFuels gasifier and the Rentech modified F-T process is another well-known and widely followed example. ZeaChem is doing some gasification. Coskata, LanzaTech and INEOS Bio are a trio that ferment gas into target fuels and chemicals (though LanzaTech has been initially focused on using existing waste gases, rather than gasifying waste biomass such as wood chips or MSW).
Then there are companies like Enerkem that gasify MSW and then chemically – rather than biologically – convert to higher-value products.
Then there are the sub-class of technologies that heat biomass into a liquid state – typically, a pyrolysis oil – and do upgrading or stabilizing from there. That’s the essential technology behind hot companies like KiOR, or Envergent, Dynamotive, or Ignite Energy.
Overall, this class has been doing an outstanding job of moving towards scale. There are numerous demonstration-scale projects either running or being completed. Companies like KiOR, Enerkem, Coskata, and INEOS Bio are heading for commercial scale right now.

The Second Way

The second class of technologies? These are the ones who are using biological and chemical processes, instead of heat, to unlock the hidden value in biomass.
In this class, the model technology uses a chemical pretreatment to crush biomass down to a size that is optimized for bioprocessing, then an acid or enzymatic hydrolysis to liberate the sugars, and a fermentation process to convert the sugars into target fuels or chemicals.
In a nutshell, that’s POET and Abengoa, for example, and companies like Dupont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol and BlueFire Renewables.
There are some who, in the pursuit of higher value or lower costs, have pioneered consolidated bioprocessing to cut that three-step model technology down to two steps, pretreatment and processing. That’s where, for example, Mascoma fits in. Also, that’s where Qteros’ magic bug does its magic.
In fact, Gevo, Butamax, and Cobalt technology fits right in here – though their magic bugs create higher value biobutanol molecules in the process.
The use of biology or chemistry to treat biomass for advanced biofuels is not entirely different from the process used to make traditional ethanol – or traditional beer or wine, for that matter. What is different in the case of cellulosic ethanol is the tricky biomass – corn straw and wheat draw instead of, say, corn starch.
You can easily figure out how difficult cellulosic ethanol is with a simple test. First, eat a wheat cracker some time. Right away, you’ll taste some sugar as the enzymes in your own mouth do some quick and easy bioprocessing after your teeth have done some pre-treatment work.
Now, much on a blade of grass. There’s a little sugar in there that is easy for you to capture, but not much. Your own personal biorefinery can’t do the work, either. Your body can tolerate grass, but you’ll never get enough energy out of it to run your body systems. Cows can, with a specialized system for processing grass – and termites can ingest wood. That’s why we study them.
And that’s what makes enzyme cocktails from the likes of Novozymes, Genencor, and Codexis pretty special. They can liberate all those sugars from biomass, though not as cost-effectively as we want and need, at the moment – though costs are coming down fast.

The Third Way

Which brings us to the Third Way. This is the tricky one.
Already you might have guessed that popular companies like LS9, Solazyme and Amyris fit in here somehow, since they haven’t been mentioned elsewhere. So, you might have an idea that this class includes engineered organisms that produce specialty fuels and chemicals. Based on the fact that a lot of these companies are starting business units in Brazil, you might have an idea that they are all using cane sugars as a base.
But how is that different from, say, Gevo or Cobalt? Except that they are using cane sugar instead of corn starch or cellulose – and except that they produce a different range of fuels and chemicals – for example diesel fuels or surfactants used to make, for example, washing powders.
The difference is that the Third Way represents not a class of technologies, but a class of systems.

The Feedlot

The best way to understand this is to think about how we raise cattle for beef production. There’s the first phase, where cattle are raised on pastureland. Then there’s the feedlot.
In the first phase, the cattle are raised simply to make cattle, cattle. There is a lot of focus on breeding and selectivity, but not nearly as much on fattening them up. That’s what the second step is all about, at the feedlot – where it is all about growth, growth, growth.
Now, let’s just introduce one element that we have forgotten about in the age of the tractor, that pertains to the feedlot and the pasture. If you happen to have any family letters from say, before 1920 or so, chances are the family was living on the farm. Chances are that they were growing one heck of a lot of food just to feed the animals that worked the farm. One whole portion of the farm was for the food to feed to pigs or cattle, one portion for the work animals, and then there were the cash crops. Keep that in mind, you’ll need to remember this.
In the case of, say, Solazyme, the Third Way System is a little hard to see, because the first phase is so short and relatively obscure. The algae are grown and designed in the lab, then very small quantities are inoculated into fermenters, and fed a whole lot of sugar to fatten them up. But you see the system – the lab is the pastureland, and the fermenter is the feedlot. The sugars are the feed crops that Grandpa grew back in the old days, on a portion of the farm.
It’s easier to see with companies like Phycal, that overtly follow this path. In their 58-acre demonstration under construction in  Hawaii, roughly half of the farm will be used to grow cassava, and half to grow skinny algae. Once the algae have reached a certain size, they are transferred over to the fermenters and fed a whole lot of cassava sugars.
What happens to the algae is the same thing that would happen to you, were you in residence at some crazy, upside-down health resort where you were fed sugar doughnuts sixteen meals a day. You get fat, fat, fat. So do algae. That’s the lipid for fuels and chemicals.
Or, they can be engineered, ultimately, to grow fat with something else besides a traditional lipid – after all, a traditional lipid is simply a traditional organism’s attempt to store up energy. That energy can be released in the form of, say, alcohols or other fuels or chemicals. Or stored up in some other energy carrier. So there are companies, like LS9 or Amyris, that are feeding lots of sugar to their designer micro-organisms, who produce and excrete a lot of, say, diesel fuel.

Advanced Biofuels as a system of systems

But think of it as a system. In the example of Phycal, the ponds are the pastureland, and the cassava section is the land to grow the feed crops. And the fermenters are the feedlot.
That’s the Third Way – a system for industrial biotech at scale, where each one of the steps is optimized for industrial biotech, and uses the latest in synthetic biology.
That’s the difference between, say, the other two biomass classes – where they use existing crops that may have been developed for other purposes. Such as using corn starch or cane grown on farms that, fungibly, might be aiming to grow corn or cane, for feed, power, sweetener or fuels and not care a whit what the industrial bioprocessor makes.
That system of fungibility is the dinosaur in the system. It is what links all the markets together and causes them all so much economic pain when rising demand for one leads to rising price for the other. Also, it is sub-optimal, from a processing point of view.
Taking fungible, already aggregated crops and using them for industrial biotech may be an efficient way for a company to get into business, but it is fatally flawed for standing up an entire, at-scale industry. Just ask any US ethanol or biodiesel producer how much they loved 2008-09. Or ask “why there is an ethanol shortage in Brazil, and India?”
It is the problem of borrowing Dad’s carwax or Mom’s kitchen to start a kid-owned business in car-washing or selling lemonade by the roadside, and trying to take it to scale. Scale ruins relationships, when a feedstock is shared. It’s a variation on the Tragedy of the Commons.
Now, you may rightly also ask, what have you separated out companies like Amyris and LS9 for? When everyone knows they are making products using pure sugarcane — the dread shared, fungible feedstock?
Well, the Third Way is about providing alternatives through a systematic approach. Right now, Amyris, Solazyme and LS9  fit into The Second Way – but they are moving towards the Third as they work with companies that are developing dedicated sugar sources.
Companies like Proterro, Comet Biorefining, HCL Cleantech, and Renmatix. Or, companies like Edeniq, BlueFire or KL Energy that can go all the way to cellulosic ethanol, but also have a particularly strong technology in pre-treatment and saccharification – that it, producing a cellulosic sugar. Codexis too. These are the companies that are providing what we generally call “cheap cellulosic sugars” – but in the example of the cattle system we described earlier, they are providing the cattle feed for the feedlot.

Pastureland, feed land and the feedlot

Pastureland, feed land and the feedlot. It’s a combined and engineered system. Sometimes, the feedlot is most of what you see. That’s the case with Solazyme, which is all about the big bioreacting fermenters and little tiny beakers at the labs that represent the pastureland where the organisms are grown,.
But it go can go completely in the opposite direction. Take the example of Joule Unlimited. There, a technology that has an enormous solar-based pastureland. It’s organisms grow photosynthetically, almost all the way to finished products, right on the main farm.
Not much of a feedlot at Joule, they pretty much grow the entire organism right out there in the field. – running CO2 and water out to the field just like farmers run nitrogen and water out to the farm land. They may well find that it is more efficient for them, in the long run, to fatten up or otherwise optimize their organisms in the feedlot, having made them in the field.
In their case, they need CO2 out there in the pasture – that’s the other component they need in huge quantities besides water and sunlight. For now, they are seeking industrial partners that have concentrated sources of CO2 already available. And, why not? The CO2 is available, and hopefully affordable, as an unwanted by product.

Sustainable production vs. using aggregated residues

But they may well find that their economics, ultimately dictate the production of CO2 in a different way than simply capturing existing residues. Using residues is good for economics – and good for the planet – but it limits scale and geography.
Ironic in an age where we have so much atmospheric CO2 that we are in danger of global warming, that we are as yet limited to using concentrated industrial CO2 in our industrial biotech projects. But that may change. The feed land – that part of the farm we have described in out Third Way – may ultimately and most happily become the sky itself.
Now, that is a worthy goal for some biotechnology development – the organism that can process atmospheric CO2 at an industrially feasible scale.
It’s talked about a lot, in the discussions around algae – in the chase to create a bioreactor or pond system that will produce a low-cost, high-value algae. But it fits better within the Third Way, where we see scientists working on three fronts: giving us more options for the feedlot, more options for the feed land, and more options for the pastureland.
Now, let’s be clear. The Third Way is a means of understanding a trend in synthetic biology and industrial biotech. Although the expression itself may be novel, it’s a pattern that can be seen all over the sector. It may well be that it helps us to measure what is a valuable company in this space – because, minimally, a company will have to have optimized either its own walled garden, its self-contained system of systems – or will have to have optimized at least one aspect (e.g. the feedlot, or the pastureland), and have world-class partnership management skills in its corporate DNA.
It is not required, for example, that Solazyme make low-cost sugars or Proterro optimize bugs for making designer renewable oils. Any more than cattle growers have to grow their own feed, or feedgrowers have to raise their own cattle, or feed lot operators have to own ranches.
But the new industrial biotech survivors will have to be world-class at one of the three key tasks, and will have to know how to optimally combine their efforts with others.

One more thing

Just one more thing. It humbling to realize the impact that our most ancient agricultural “system of systems” – like our long-developed systems for cattle raising or wine-making – have on bleeding-edge industrial biotech.
It tells you something about the cleverness of our forgotten ancestors of so long, long ago. It tells us, also, that while we may well think ourselves as being enlightened industrial creatures who have advanced well beyond the wisdom of the ancients, it may not really be so in some very important ways.
We may be simply people still wandering around in the Dark Ages, having forgotten so much of what was developed in time out of mind, and how, and why.
It may be that we aren’t much advanced from peasants scratching at medieval plots of land, in our profound ignorance of how to do almost anything that is both affordable and sustainable.
We may still be little more, as a species, than a walking advertisement for the Tragedy of the Commons.
We have learned so much lately about very small systems like molecules and atoms, and learned all too much about how to dig holes in the ground and extract minerals and oils. But we are just now re-learning how to responsibly use that which we can access or make, or responsibly replace that which we use.

Book stirs debate on whether organic can feed the world

Can organic farming produce enough food to feed the world? Yes, according to a new book by a German agricultural expert. But many skeptics, including Germany's development minister, aren't convinced.

The question of whether organic food can help tackle world hunger is a subject of heated debate. It's also the topic of a new provocatively-named book in German "Food Crash – We will Subsist Organically or Not all" by Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, the head of Germany's Association for Organic Food (BÖLW).

As the title suggests, the book makes the case for organic farming free from pesticides, chemical fertilizers and genetically engineered crops as the only way to feed the world in the long-term.

It disputes the often-cited claim by advocates of modern intensive farming that "going organic" will not produce enough food to feed large populations.

"The fact is that organic farming only produces significantly lower yields than conventional farming in our high-intensity farms in the West – mainly in central Europe," zu Löwenstein said at a recent book presentation in Berlin.
The trained agricultural scientist pointed out that in less developed countries regularly hit by famine and drought, and where conventional agricultural systems aren't that intensive to start with, organic farming is often much more productive.

Food for thought
The book cites a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to back up its argument.  During a development project in Ethiopia, the group found that farms using natural fertilizers had 40 percent higher yields than those using chemical fertilizers.

The success of the project in Ethiopia was largely due to the fact that it drew both on local know-how as well as modern scientific knowledge, zu Löwenstein writes.
The author also points to the high ecological price tag associated with conventional farming.

"Conventional farming often generates a whole pile of additional costs that are then dumped on to the environment," he said, adding that an excessive use of chemical fertilizers meant that harmful residue ends up in flowing water bodies and then in oceans.

Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, who spent three years in Haiti as a development worker and later in Chad and Burkina Faso, also pointed out that conventional farming in poorer nations often forced farmers to buy expensive fertilizers and pesticides.

A question of economics
The key to success, he says, is an innovative agricultural system that avoids using huge amounts of resources and funds from outside, and focuses instead on making the most of natural soil and nutrient cycles and transferring knowledge to farmers.
That, zu Löwenstein says, would make small-scale farmers – who make up around 70 percent of the estimated one billion hungry people worldwide – less dependant on fluctuating prices on world markets and allow them to keep more of their own yields.
It's an argument that many environmental advocates agree with.

"The most important thing about organic farming is the combination of ecological and economic benefits," Tobias Reichert of German Food Watch told Deutsche Welle. "It improves soil quality, helps biodiversity and can also serve to store carbon dioxide, thus reducing the impact of agriculture on the climate – which also has immense economic value."

Heading for a 'food crash?'
Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein argues in the book that the world's hunger problems aren't necessarily because of a lack of food production.

Energy-intensive industrial farming, he says, is based on over-exploiting resources, often leading to soil and ground contamination through an excess of chemicals. That, he fears, could lead to what he calls a "food crash" – a collapse of the global food system.

"This is not about the amount of food," zu Löwenstein said. "When we look at what we do with what we produce, we can see that today we're producing much more than we need. And we're just wasting it," he said, referring to the vast amount of foodstuff that ends up in garbage bins every day in western nations.

No right or wrong?
But, critics, including German Development Minister Dirk Niebel, remain unconvinced.

A member of the liberal, business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, Niebel was invited to the book's presentation in Berlin.
"Organic farming alone will not solve the problem of world hunger," Niebel said at the event. "At the moment, organic farming is often too expensive and partly too inefficient."

The minister pointed out that the world population is projected to rise to nine billion by 2050. Those who want to feed all these people should not "completely demonize" the agro-industrial system, he said, adding that gene technology could play a role in fighting hunger, for instance, by developing plants that need less fertilizer.
"I think the ideological fights between proponents of organic farming and those of agro-industrial farming are outdated," Niebel said.

Some experts agree, saying the right approach probably lies somewhere in between.
Daniel Neuhoff from the Institute of Organic Agriculture at the University of Bonn said developing nations such as Indonesia or even Egypt, which has a high population density, would be better served if they combined elements of conventional and organic farming.

That would mean using more natural fertilizers such as composted manure but also, more synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in doses, if necessary.

"Organic farming does make a very valuable contribution in sustainable agricultural management," Neuhoff told Deutsche Welle.

"But I don't believe it can be the only solution to the world's food problems – just as conventional agriculture alone isn't either."

Author: Sonia Phalnikar /Alexandra Scherle
Editor: Nathan Witkop

Las plantaciones de cítricos españoles absorben el doble de CO2 que el generado por el consumo industrial

España se configura como un productor y exportador citrícola mundial, fundamental en el área mediterránea y en la Unión Europea y por tanto también del zumo procedente de las frutas de este árbol. En un contexto de cambio climático, cualquier estrategia de captura y almacenamiento de gases contaminantes se configura como primordial en el ámbito de la sostenibilidad ambiental, y en este sentido los cultivos de cítricos pueden desempeñar un papel muy relevante. Esta inquietud ha impulsado el fomento de estudios para conocer con mayor profundidad la dinámica de los gases de efecto invernadero y, sobre todo, el papel de los cultivos de hoja perenne.
Uno de estos estudios es el desarrollado por un equipo del IVIA (Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias), dirigido por Eduardo Primo: 'La huella del carbono en plantaciones de cítricos'. Según el citado informe, "los cítricos en nuestras latitudes presentan una capacidad de asimilación de CO2 y un metabolismo muy estables y adaptados a condiciones cambiantes, lo que los convierte en un cultivo muy interesante y prometedor desde la perspectiva de la mitigación del cambio climático".
Otra de las particularidades de este cultivo -en relación con la conservación del medioambiente- es que tiene una gran capacidad de almacenamiento de carbono en sus variados tejidos que, además, es modulable en función de los agentes externos mediante cambios de su actividad fotosintética. A ello se suma una elevada eficiencia productiva, que indica - al menos en principio- un potencial de gran magnitud.
El cultivo de cítricos, el más sostenible
La agricultura -como destaca el estudio- es capaz de fijar grandes cantidades de CO2 de la atmósfera, pero dentro del conjunto de cultivos, los árboles, sobre todo los de hoja perenne, son los que tienen mayor capacidad para capturar estos gases de efecto invernadero. "El potencial de remoción de CO2 de los campos de naranjos -de la biomasa de sus troncos, de las malas hierbas que se producen a su alrededor, de la materia orgánica de las hojas y frutos que se descomponen en el suelo- es enorme, muy superior por hectárea al de cualquier bosque o producción de secano y convendría poner en valor esta riqueza natural porque es fundamental para la preservación del medio ambiente", según Primo.
Desde Asozumos consideramos que el cultivo de cítricos contribuye a la sostenibilidad medioambiental en línea con la filosofía de nuestra asociación de preservar nuestro entorno y consumir menor cantidad de energía, lo cual redundará en beneficio de nuestra industria y de su eficiencia, no solo desde el punto de vista medioambiental sino también desde la perspectiva económica.
La Asociación Española de Fabricantes de Zumos (Asozumos) es la organización empresarial que integra a los productores de zumos de nuestro país y les representa en todos los ámbitos, y ante las administraciones públicas y entidades privadas de todo tipo. Su misión es ofrecer al conjunto de la sociedad (consumidores, profesionales de la salud y la nutrición, medios de comunicación...) información con respaldo técnico- científico sobre las propiedades nutricionales de los zumos y sus procesos de elaboración, para contribuir a una alimentación saludable, segura y sensorialmente agradable.;.node2

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