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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Brazilian Researcher Visits OARDC to Discuss Bio-energy Collaborations

June 15, 2007

WOOSTER, Ohio € Brazil is an international leader in the production of biofuels from crops. Ohio State University has a widely recognized crop breeding and biotechnology program and is leading efforts in the state to develop renewable fuels, energy and materials. So it makes sense that both parties get together to compare notes and learn from each other as they seek to make further strides in the worlds emerging bioecononomy.

Thats exactly what happened June 12 on the Wooster campus of the universitys Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). University leaders and researchers met with Raul Machado, associate dean for research at the University of São Paulos College of Agriculture (ESALQ), to lay the groundwork for new collaborations in the area of bio-energy and biofuels.

“Ideas drive our institutions; they are at the core of what we do, OARDC Director Steve Slack said. “These visits and exchanges help generate and share ideas and lead to important collaborations for both our institutions and our countries.

Machado met with several OARDC scientists to learn about ongoing projects at the Center. Among them were Fred Michel, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, “Composting technologies to create value-added products; Floyd Schanbacher, Department of Animal Sciences, “Conversion of biomass into energy; and Rich Pratt, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, “Maize genetics research from a biofuels perspective.

Ohio State and the University of São Paulo are part of the New World Consortium for Life Sciences Research, a tripartite initiative that also includes New Jersey’s Rutgers University. The initiative was formed to facilitate the exchange of scientists for the purpose of developing cooperative international research programs in the Americas.

“The tripartite initiative is about opening new vistas of opportunity for collaborative research and graduate education, Pratt said. “Each institution brings its own unique skills and experiences. The participants have forged a sense of community and mutual respect.

Pratt said that at a recent workshop on biofuels at Rutgers, U.S. scientists saw the entire story of how science and technology  from plant breeding to biotech to fermentation technology to systems engineering, coupled with government policy have resulted in Brazils energy independence.

“My reaction was that Brazil is a true leader in the successful development and integration of all of these essential areas, and we can learn a lot from them, Pratt pointed out.

Pratt said he is also excited about the consortiums focus on developing joint graduate-degree programs that will foster movement of students across all three institutions. “Our degree programs would gain immeasurably from such multi-institutional and multi-cultural experiences, he added.

The largest and most comprehensive agricultural research facility in the United States, OARDC ( is the research arm of Ohio States College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. The Center brings together some 230 scientists engaged in more than 400 research projects at any given time. Through collaborations with industry and government agencies, OARDC generates more than $1 billion of annual economic impact and cost savings to Ohio and the United States.

Mauricio Espinoza
Steve Slack