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Teaching how to develop clean solutions for low impact agriculture

Students from the American School of Barcelona visiting the headquarters of Futureco Bioscience

Students from the American School of Barcelona visiting the headquarters of Futureco Bioscience

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Futureco Bioscience organized on 18 and 19 November two activities of the Science Week to promote scientific careers among high school students. On November 18, Iker Hernandez, responsible for Molecular Biology of the Department of R&D, gave a lecture to students of IES Pompeu Fabra of Martorell, on the functioning of the R&D Department in a company that develops clean solutions for the protection and nutrition of crops that are friendly to the environment. Iker focused on explaining the operation and value of certain techniques such as genetic analysis for different purposes, from characterizing a strain of a bacterium, to discover which genes thereof that are involved in the biostimulation of a metabollic path in plants, for example, or an antagonistic activity against phytopathogenic microorganisms.

On November 19, students of the American School of Barcelona (ABS) visited Futureco Bioscience. The visit opened with a reflection about why they had chosen to study science, introducing them to the work that they would see later being performed by people that years before had been in the same situation as they were now, at the time of choosing the career that would make them grow personally and professionally, and add their contribution to social development. Subsequently, they were introduced to the operation of the R&D Department, to the work of its seven laboratories, and how that work was perfectly coordinated to achieve design, development and ensuring the quality and efficacy of products. Later, they visited the laboratories, where they used to show more interest and curiosity about how do high tech machines work and how people are working.

Students of ABS were posed two challenges about finding clean solutions for low impact agriculture. The first one consisted in finding a way to grow crops in an arid field, an environment with low water availability and a little poor in nutrients. Te second challenfe consisted in finding the solution to combat an infestation of whiteflies in a given crop. Students proposed, for the first challenge, growing plants in symbiosis with fungi that facilitate access to water and nutrients, inventing a strategy that already exists, mycorrhizae. For the second challenge, they suggested going to the field where the plague of whiteflies was, to find whiteflies killed by infection of microorganism, isolate the infection and then produce it in sufficient quantity to apply it again in the field, as an isolation and application of natural enemies of whiteflies against them.

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