In the Kenyan capital of Nairobi African and European researchers have launched an ambitious international `information mobilisation`-project to disclose the existing knowledge of useful plants of Tropical Africa. The PROTA Project (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) has been prepared by Wageningen University (the Netherlands), Agropolis in Montpellier (France), Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (United Kingdom) and six African institutes: Makerere University (Uganda), FORIG (Ghana), NHBGM (Malawi), PBZT (Madagascar), CENAREST (Gabon), and CNSF (Burkina Faso).
In ten years time (2003-2012) the researchers will survey and critically review the existing knowledge on an estimated 7000 useful plant species, and compile this information in a database that will be the source for an internet site, CD-ROMs and a 16-volume handbook. A unique feature of the project is that it will also handle less-accessible ‘grey’ literature and will make the reviews widely available for users in education, research and extension. The project focuses on promoting plant resources as a basis for sustainable land-use, and is committed to the conservation of biodiversity and the rural development of tropical Africa. More than 50% of the African population lives beneath the poverty line, with a great majority in rural areas. In total the project will cost about 16 million Euro, about 1,6 million per year. The funding for the first year is almost ensured with contributions of the European Commission, Wageningen University and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
PROTA will be coordinated by a Network Office Africa, located at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi (Kenya), and a Network Office Europe at Wageningen University (the Netherlands). The six Regional Offices are hosted by institutes all over tropical Africa. At the First PROTA International Workshop, that was held in Kenya last week, dr. Shafqat Kakakhel, deputy executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), welcomed the initiative. “Africa holds more than 25% of the worlds biodiversity. It is a tragic paradox that marginal agriculture forms the greatest threat to biodiversity, while diversity could be on the basis of sustainable development. The diversity of the crops of today is at the basis of the food security of tomorrow”, said Kakakhel.
Dr. Jan Siemonsma | alfa
Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy