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[en] Some biotechnologies are appropriate for small scale agricultural production, are labour intensive and do not require huge investments. For instance, micropropagation of crops and ornamentals using plant meristems and other tissues has been used successfully by many companies in Central and South America over the past decade. Another example is the rapid incorporation of polymerase chain reaction, which has been used successfully for diagnosis of medical and veterinary diseases, identification of genetics in forensic medicine, identification of cultivars and mapping of disease genes. Prospecting for biodiversity is yet another option for tropical countries, although biomedical products for human use require very expensive trials before approval. Prospecting for biodegradable pesticides, for instance, may be a more feasible and sustainable venture, with smaller investments and still very high potential returns. Much effort is needed to consolidate the existing centres of excellence involved in training and research. In the biotechnological realm, narrow niches where local advantages provide the competitive edge may become the most successful approach. For less developed countries, a biotechnologically skilled workforce will be of critical importance in carving out market opportunities with competent technologists and scientists who can attain and maintain good standards of quality in the global market place. 27 refs, 2 figs, 1 tab
[en] The international community has greeted the establishment of two new nuclear weapon-free zones with praise. Africa and South Asia are the regions which will join, once the respective treaties are ratified and in force, Latin America and the South Pacific to ensure that extensive areas of the earth remain free of nuclear weapons. The usual reaction to these accomplishments is to hail them as important contributions to international peace and security, and as meaningful steps towards a world free of nuclear weapons. The nuclear weapon-free zones have their value but this value relates mainly to the countries within the zone. The interest of nuclear-weapon states are not really affected, or, if they are, the influence is not significant. One should bear in mind that the really important and meaningful nuclear weapon-free zones have yet to be achieved
[en] After 2001 events (9/11 and anthrax letters) we witnessed the dramatic growth of the biodefense sector, and in within this framework, the increment of the number of high biosafety level laboratories (BSL3 and BSL4) both in central countries and peripheral ones. It is important to point out that not all the labs are devoted to activities related to biodefense but also to biological research from a traditional perspective. In this scenario, and as an unwanted consequence, we have noticed that the number of people -professionals with different level specialization- which have the information and skills that could be used to produce BW, grew vertiginously as well. So, considering the biodefense sector from a systemic perspective, we are being witnesses of how due to an intent to protect ourselves against the biological threat, our vulnerability to it gains an unexpected magnitude. Therefore, in this paper we will analyze the phenomenon of the growing number of high security level labs, first, in a global perspective and later, with focus in South America in order to determine if this evolving situation represents a security problem. In order to do that, we will approach the problem from different perspectives: health care, development, security/safety, defense and non proliferation.(author)
[en] To the south of the San franciscana plate a number of tectonically interdigitated suspect terranes create a complex geological situation in which intercalated ancient, metasedimentary, metavolcanic, composite and granitic terranes are tectonically repeated. These terranes are briefly discussed here together with possible interpretations. (author)
[en] The present study was aimed at carrying out a survey on the knowledge and acceptance level of food irradiation. The work was carried out in Santiago, Chile. As an above-average level country in South and Central America, the results may give an indication about the situation in other countries. The survey could also provide an indication about the impression of the public regarding the international 'Radura' symbol, indicating on a food product that has been irradiated. A total of 497 persons were interviewed. Among the interviewed people, 76.5% did not know that irradiation could be used as a method for food preservation; 46% expressed their belief that irradiated food means the same as radioactive food. Nevertheless, 91% claimed that they would become consumers of irradiated food if they knew that 'irradiated' is not 'radioactive' and that proper irradiation enhances food safety; 95.8% of the interviewed persons were not familiar with the 'Radura' symbol. However, 55.8% expressed their opinion that they would buy irradiated food because of the symbol, affirming that the 'Radura' symbol transmits the sensation of confidence and safety.
[en] Opportunities for participation in the rapid expansion of the natural gas sector in South America following privatization and deregulation initiatives, were examined on a country-by-country basis. In Colombia and Venezuela opportunities exist primarily in domestic development of the gas sector, whereas in the countries of the southern cone - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay - the situation is said to be ripe for energy sector integration. Currently, a second regional pipeline link, with a capacity of 129 Bcf/year, is nearing completion, which will carry gas from west Argentina to Santiago, Chile, to supplement the 77 Bcf/year pipeline carrying gas from Bolivia to the Argentine border, where it connects with a trunk line to supply the Buenos Aires market. A Canadian Energy Research Institute study, to be published in the summer of 1997, focuses on the various pipeline links being put forward to integrate the gas resources in the southern cone with existing and potential gas markets. The integration scenarios examined are predicted to reveal both economic and commercial merit for the pipeline corridors. Canadian energy and pipeline companies are said to be well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities resulting from these initiatives, and to help making the vision of an integrated gas pipeline network in the southern cone of South America a reality
[en] This study analyses the factors driving the stay-exit intention of small livestock farmers located in southern Chile. Technical, economic, and social characteristics from 212 farmers were included in this study. Through an empirical probit model we identified the variables that should be considered when developing rural policies aimed at increasing the likelihood to stay in farming. The results showed that 12 out of the 30 parameters were significant (p<0.10), with an extremely good fit of the model (McFadden pseudo-R2 = 0.25, Count R2 = 75.9%). Particularly, ‘female farmer’, ‘positive expectation about future farming life’, ‘capacity of farm income to cover the expenses of the whole family’, ‘mixed production’, ‘participation in an association’, and ‘distance to the nearest city’ were positively associated with the stay intention. Moreover, our study also indicates that ‘existence of a defined retirement age’, ‘existence of a defined sale price for the farm’, ‘a mixed farm focused on livestock production’, ‘the possibility to make own decisions’, ‘age squared’, and the ‘number of people living at the farm’ were negatively associated with the stay intention. Our empirical findings suggest that farmer characteristics (gender, family size), the farming system (multi-activity production, efficiency), and social aspects of the rural society (associations, protection of agricultural products) are also important aspects that should be considered by rural development policies aimed at improving the likelihood of staying, in addition to the technical characteristics of the farming which have been traditionally addressed in developing countries.
[en] The NOAA AVHRR GAC data set was used to produce Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) maps for the South American Continent covering the period from August 1, 1981 to June 30, 1987. A 15-day maximum value composite procedure was used to partially eliminate the cloud contamination and atmospheric attenuation. Monthly evolution of NDVI for a dry and a wet year within the period studied was used to estimate the area covered by NDVI value less than 0.223, This value was used as an indicator of the drought area and the delineation of the Low rainfall areas in the continent. It was observed a well defined regional dependence of the drought area variability for the Northeast, Southwest and Northwest continent and also for the Amazon region. It is shown a relative estimation of the area coverage with NDVI less than 0.223 for the years 1982/83 and 1984/85. The dynamics of the drought area evolution in the continent is discussed. It is also presented a diagnosis of regional variability of the continental distribution of drought area from 1981 to 1987 for the months of May and September. This information is also used to discuss its relationship with the EL-Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the South American Precipitation patterns during this period. It is suggested that the use of NDVI image to identify the dynamics of the drought induced by low rainfall may provide us valuable information to study the large scale climatic variation