FAPESP Week California highlights advances in the field of energy
Researchers from Brazil and the United States discuss opportunities for cooperation involving renewable energy and applications for electronic devices in the medical field
By Fernando Cunha, in Berkeley
Agência FAPESP – Recent advances in energy studies were the subject of the first panel held November 17, 2014 at FAPESP Week California, presented by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and research institutions from the state of São Paulo.
Topics such as the identification of genetic material for improving sugarcane used in ethanol production, challenges to expand ethanol competitiveness, and flexible printed devices for collecting and storing energy were on the agenda for possible research collaboration on future projects.
The meeting launched the symposium that runs one more day in Berkeley, with discussions on State-Society relations involving urban studies, democracy, violence and higher education, and the fields of materials science, infrastructure and energy, and prospects for international cooperation.
Sponsored by FAPESP, with support from the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, in Washington, DC, FAPESP Week California travels to the University of California, Davis, November 20-21, 2014.
In her presentation, “Energy security: BIOEN and the sugarcane genome,” Marie-Anne Van Sluys, professor of the Biosciences Institute at the University of São Paulo (IB/USP) and Area Panel Member of the FAPESP Bioenergy Research Program (BIOEN), reported the findings of research funded by the program to build a database of genetic information on sugarcane. The goal is to offer data for selecting more energy-efficient cultivars.
According to Van Sluys, the genetic data found in the database would allow identification of the gene sucrose-6-phosphate-phosphohydolase, or s6pp, responsible for the release of sucrose in the Saccharum officinarum cultivar, one of two that give rise to the hybrid sugarcane now cultivated.
The findings were published in the article Building the sugarcane genome for biotechnology and identifying evolutionary trends in the journal BMC Genomics, June 30, 2014.
Van Sluys said that this gene could be used as a marker to identify other cultivars with enhanced capacity to produce sugar or even duplicate the concentration of sucrose in the plant used today to produce ethanol through biotechnology.
Marcia Azanha Moraes, professor in the Department of Economics, Administration and Sociology at the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture of the University of São Paulo (ESALQ-USP), assessed the new international scenario for replacing fossil fuels with ethanol, one in which many countries are considering policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Also taking part in the panel was David Zilberman, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley.
Ana Claudia Arias, co-director and researcher at the Berkeley Wireless Research Center (BWRC) of UC Berkeley, demonstrated the findings of studies on printed electronic devices, a new field that focuses on the use of printing techniques in developing electronic materials and flat, long flexible sensors, capable of collecting and storing energy.