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The role of communicating bioscience in Puerto Rico Partnership to develop biofuels promotes
Puerto Rico’s economy
I NDUNIV Research Consortium
was created to promote and cat-
alyze effective collaboration among
understanding of life science in prepared and published for this pur-
general and bioscience in particu-
lar. The information-dissemination One of the available documents
focuses on the application of biosci-
ence in food and agriculture. The
main theme in the coloring book
When it comes to finding cost-effective ways
to produce large amounts of biofuel, a num-
and midsize farms produce a diverse portfolio of
products,” said Dr. Arup Sen, CEO of both SABI
ber of efforts are underway in Puerto Rico and SCI. “We are doing this through a unique
industry,academiaandgovernment is the Puerto Rico Bioscience Des-
efforts complement the main activi- is the way bioscience impacts the
that involve public and private organizations university-industry-community collaboration
to stimulate knowledge-based tination, now in its third edition.
ties toward the development of the various stages dealing with: 1) the
alike. This includes combined efforts among as we address the specific needs of the island by
capabilities in P.R., develop the This yearly publication is gener-
bioscience sector among and within growing of more food and nutri-
the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, Sus- effectively utilizing Puerto Rico’s intellectual,
necessary strategies and action ated and launched at the BIO
the strategic economic clusters. By tious plants; 2) helping the environ-
tainable AgroBiotech LLC of Puerto Rico agricultural and manufacturing resources.” He
plans to promote innovation and Annual International Convention
educating the public and providing ment; 3) growing more food plants
(SABI), and INDUNIV Research Consortium, pointed out that while SABI and UPR are in-
position P.R. as a global best-practice as promotional material from the
accurate information, the goal is to that improve our health plus are of
whose representatives and specialists have volved in the research efforts, INDUNIV pro-
location to choose for the life-sciences strengthentheunderstandingofbio- P.R. Pavilion at this event. It is a value to our quality of life. The book
formed partnerships to develop new tech- vides facilitation to the group and strategic di-
industry. The administration of the publication of the Bioscience
science and its contributions toward is easy to read and will help children
nologies to reduce dependence on fossil fuel. rection to address legislative and governmental
pharmaceutical and bioscience Cluster that promotes the island as
solutions dealing with our quality of and adults alike have a better un-
In addition to identifying and developing high- issues, including the permitting process, fund-
clusters is part of, Induniv’s role, a bioscience destination of choice.
life. Therefore, part of our mission derstanding of bioscience through
biomass crops, with companies such as SABI es- ing, legislation, promotions and networking.
which in exchange requires com- The 2008 edition was launched at
within the P.R. BioscienceAlliance to simple and practical illustrations.
tablishing renewable-energy partnerships with As SABI develops new ways to harvest and
municating the attributes of these BIOInternationalConventioninSan
attain this goal has been the genera- As virtual tools to communicate
local farmers and helping them re-establish sug- process biomass, the company is also aggres-
sectors’ disciplines in terms of their Diego (June 18-21). This booklet
tion of educational materials as one biosciences, INDUNIV has estab-
arcane farming, local scientists are also looking
contributions toward economic highlights the six main points of
of our strategic objectives. Avariety lished a series of websites that can
at developing microorganisms that can effec- ment of these shipworms from these areas.”
development and the value added the life-sciences platform that P.R.
of educational materials have been be reached through the following
tively ferment the monosaccharides present in By strategically placing pine grids in a man-
to the community’s well-being. offers to companies and organi-
prepared to deliver information and domain names:
the feedstock created from ligonocellulosic bio- grove area in the southwestern region of the is-
As part of this commitment, the zations interested in establishing
messages targeted to the audiences (INDUNIV);
mass. This, in turn, would be a significant con- land, the researchers have been able to isolate
communication aspect deals with identified within our broad com- operations on the island. These (P.R.BioAlliance);
tributor to the cost and ease of manufacturing of various species to identify the best candidates
promoting public awareness and munity of partners. The materialscomponents are infrastructure, (P.R. Research Seed Association);
bioethanol. “The availability of effective means to for enzyme production for a given biomass.
positive business climate, global process biomass will increase our ability to exploit Given Puerto Rico’s warm waters, SABI,
recognition, excellent location, ticalCluster);andwww.amcpuertori- a greater percentage of available types of ligno- which is an affiliate of Sustainable Cellulosics
experience, competitive work-
MATERIAL force and the innovation cluster. tion). Another contributing website
cellulosic biomass and effectiveness of microbes
in fermenting the feedstock produced from such
Inc. (SCI) of Florida, has joined efforts with Dr.
Nadathur’s group, Iván Lugo from INDUNIV,
Also available is a book-
is from the UPR Bayamón campus, biomass,” said Dr. Govind Nadathur, of the De- and others to develop end-to-end technology
let entitled “What is Biotech- which offers a virtual experience partment of Marine Sciences at the University of solutions for producing bioethanol and other
nology”, developed spe-
CENTER, INC. cifically for high-school and
about bioscience with resources and
reference materials. These websites
Puerto Rico’s Magueyes Island research center.
However, given that effective processing often
college students. The booklet are communication hubs where
The only facility within 1,000 miles to offer highly requires enzymes that can work under harsh sively collaborating with researchers at the
(in Spanish) touches different much of the material can be sourced
specialized analytical and biotechnological service conditions, the tropics, with its dynamic biodi- University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPR-
topics about biotechnology, in electronic format. These sites also versity, may serve as the source of some viable RUM) and providing partial funding to de-
among them: the origins of bio- help us present more information alternatives. Harnessing the local strains of ter- velop technology to make biodiesel fuel from
tech, applications in biotech, the about the strategic clusters that
AVAILABLE SERVICE: mites as ideal decomposers of biomass is under- algae. Dr. Jose Colucci, associate dean of the
 Raw Material to Final biotechnology industry, what INDUNIV administers. Moreover,
 Characterization of Foreign Matter way in studies by researchers on Dr. Nadathur’s faculty of engineering at UPR-RUM is serving
do I need to study to become through this network of websites,
 Impurities & Particles  Products Analyses team. “[Termites] are a keystone species that as the principal investigator, with Dr. Nadathur
a biotechnologist and other each organization posts important
 Surface Microscopy & Spectroscopy  Method Development related facts. The booklet gives
form a base to the grazing food chain of tropical working as co-principal investigator. “[Puerto
and relevant news plus events of in- terrestrial ecosystems,” he said. “Termites posses Rico] has very warm tropical resources and,
 Uncommon Analytical  Bioscience Testing: a general understanding of the terest to the industrial and general
Troubleshooting Testing: • Functional Genomic & their own nutritional mutualism with microor- in the ponds, you can find algae that produc-
science behind biotechnol- community about what is happen-
• Polymorph by XRD ganisms, which allows them to overcome obsta- es oil for its own survival,” said Dr. Sen. “Not
Microarrays Test ogy. There are other written ing in the life-science sectors in P.R. cles in the utilization of plant cellusosic materi- only is this oil fantastic for producing biodiesel
• Elemental Analyses • Sequencing & Genomic resources available in both One event relevant to life sciences al.” He also added that environmental genomics fuel, but the pond version produces 10 times
• Organic Volatiles (OVI) • Proteomic (XRay, MS) printed and electronic form. is the annual Bio Week celebration, from prokaryotic symbionts in termite guts have more oil than what you get from palm trees.”
• Chromatography Other material INDUNIV which is held the third week of
• Confocal Image yielded valuable libraries of complex carbo- Focusing heavily on bringing algae technolo-
recently has prepared is the September (this year Sept. 15-19). Bio refinery team, Lajas experimental station
hydrate-degrading enzymes. So far, a detailed gy to the forefront, members of the project team
Spanish version of the Biotech- Throughout this week, all the afore- study on the termites in Puerto Rico and the U.S. recently received a grant from the U.S. Air Force
nology coloring book that the mentioned materials are going to be Virgin Islands has identified 21 different species. value-added products. As an emerging agri- to study various kinds of algae to determine the
Council for Biotechnology In- distributedinthevariousparticipating Shipworms–marine wood-boring mollusks cultural-biotechnology company focused on kinds of oils they produce and which would be
UPR Río Piedras formationcreated.INDUNIVcol- regions and at three ATI train sta- maximizing the value of agricultural land and
that are well-known for their destructive action appropriate for producing various grades of
Campus laborated with CBI to translate tions. The intention is to reach more on wharfs and other wood exposed to the sea aquaculture by producing and selling biofuels diesel for trucks, farm equipment and jet fuel.
PO Box 21972 the book into Spanish, which is people from the community at large also have been identified as potential agents and high-value biobased products, SABI’s ma- “We already have started a program to look for
meant to impact elementary- than in previous years. This week is
San Juan PR 00931 for their decomposing capabilities as well. “As jor objectives include establishing renewable- algae for jet fuel for the Air Force, and are also
school children. In this man- a great opportunity to provide all
787-282-7593 early as the 1920s, it was shown these worms energy partnerships with farmers to help them building a library of different algae and how to
ner, the message can reach a these educational materials to high-
281-0997 have the capacity to digest both cellulose and increase their operating margins, as well as im- grow them,” he said. While Dr. Sen believes it
broader spectrum of people. light the importance and benefits hemicellulose,” said Dr. Nadathur. “Our labo- plementing an integrated biorefinery business is technically impossible to totally replace fos- The book is titled “ Look Closer that biotechnology affords in our ratory has identified areas in the southwest of customized to meet the needs of Puerto Rico. sil fuels, the work being done by his compa-
w w w . MCC . COM . PR at Biotechnology” and contains life. The program for Bio Week can “Our mission is to create jobs in agriculture and
Puerto Rico that can yield such mollusks and ny can result in various blends that can cause
valuable such information as be sourced through these websites. developed a technique for the targeted enrich- industrial manufacturing sectors and help small the price at the pump to drop significantly. 
exercises and drawings so chil- We invite you to visit these sites and
dren can color them. The book attend the Bio Week celebrations.