Research Areas

Natural Resources & R&D Management 2012 - 2014

Researcher: Carlos Eduardo Lazarini da Fonseca

Labex USA uses creative partnerships to develop knowledge and technology of shared interest with the goal of enabling Embrapa’s mission towards the sustainable development of Brazilian agribusiness. By successfully pursuing and maintaining strategic opportunities and partnerships, Labex is establishing itself as a global innovative program for international partnership in agriculture and livestock research. Labex has offices in the US, Europe with labs in France, England, and Germany, South Korea, and China. In 2013, a new office will be established in Japan. For fourteen years the Labex US has been nurturing partnerships to drive innovation and foster collaboration with American research institutions. The newly established areas of research provide a clear entry point for problems of common interest as illustrated by the ongoing collaborative activities mostly with ARS in genetic resources, animal health, drought tolerance, bioactive compounds, natural resources, and citrus huanglongbing. The Labex US office, jointly with the ARS – OIRP Office of International Research Programs, has assisted on the coordination of a number of alliances, partnerships, ongoing research activities/programs, and new research opportunities to increase future collaborative activities between Embrapa and ARS and other research institutions. To do so, the office serves as the facilitator for the development of common interest projects, encourages and promotes trans-disciplinary research discussions on priorities areas, sponsors initiatives that benefit Embrapa`s Research Centers on enabling their mission, as well as fosters the exchange of scientists between Brazil and United State.

Objectives: To build synergies based on relationships; to design and implement innovative forms of collaboration for a healthy evolution of the Labex program; to promote partnership on an equal basis ; to organize and increase the flow of information by improving communication among Labex units, Embrapa headquarters and research centers, as well as by improving internal and external communication; to maintain ongoing collaborative research programs and coordination activities; to establish new portfolios of collaborative research on Labex US priority areas; to foster the exchange of scientists between ARS and Embrapa; and to implement cooperative actions with Labex Europe, Labex China, and Labex Korea.

Natural Resources - The development of a research agenda is underway with the ARC/BARC Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory team at Bestsville, MD. At the same time, contacts with specific scientists at Embrapa are underway to implement collaborative research on “Application and modification of SWAT water quality model to use remotely sensed observations for BMP evaluations at regional and national scale” and on “Satellite-based monitoring of drought and water use over Brazil and South America”. A young scientist, Cornelio A. Zolin, from Embrapa Agrosilvopastoril, is a visiting scientist at Dr. Bill Kustas and Dr. Martha Anderson Lab to evaluate and implement a physically-based model, developed by HRSL scientists, to monitoring drought and water use at continental and regional scale over Brazil, employing thermal imagery from geostationary satellites and using surface temperature as a proxy for soil moisture to map actual daily evapotranspiration (ET), needing no precipitation data.

Other Activities - Collaborative research on Aquaculture and Bioenergy has been dynamically discussed through meetings and trips to Brazil and USA. A new collaboration has been implemented with Pyrolysis derived fuels research. A capacity building program at ARS for young scientists from Embrapa Aquaculture is under discussion. Implementation of collaborative work with GRACENet is underway and has been focused on the CQESTR model, database training, and on a second International Workshop in Climate Change. A new call for the genetic resources position at Labex USA has been discussed with ARS NPLs and scientists based on priorites of common strategic interests. Improvements on the flow of information are underway with a Labex facebook page on the air and a new site version to be released soon.

Dr. Carlos Souza came from Embrapa Aquaculture as a visiting scientist of ARS - National Center for Cool and Coldwater Aquaculture to work on fish reproduction from November 2013 to March 2014. A capacity building program at ARS for young scientists from Embrapa Aquaculture is still under discussion, and now depends on a definition of internal process at Embrapa headquarters and Embrapa Aquaculture.  Labex is also supporting the “International Workshop on Environmental Monitoring of Aquaculture in Large Reservoir of Brazilian Dams” to be held in Brazil in 2014, under coordination of Dr. Julio Queiroz, from Embrapa Environment with effective participation of Auburn University and ARS. A short term position for a young scientist from Embrapa Aquaculture is underway on fish attenuated vaccines capacity building at ARS. Dr. Marina Iwashita is working with Dr. Julia Pridgeon at the Aquatic Animal Health Lab, Auburn, AL.

A new collaborative research by Dr. Anna Pighinelli from Embrapa Agroenergy was implemented with Pyrolysis derived fuels at the Sustainable Biofuels & Co-Products Research Unit, Eastern Regional Research Center in 2013. Two other scientists from Embrapa Agroenergy came to ARS Labs for a three-month collaborative research. Dr. Hugo Molinari worked on the use on TALENs technology for precision genetic engineering of sugarcane at the Plant Gene Expression Center, and Dr Patricia Abrão de Oliviera on the use of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance to analyses cell wall composition in GM plants at the Western Regional Research Center, both in Albany, CA. Additional areas of interest related to cell wall deconstruction is under discussion with ARS-NCAUR Peoria, IL. Aiming to sustain the collaborative work with ERRC in a longer term, o Dr. Emerson Leo Schultz from Embrapa Agroenergy is planning to come on 2014, after Dr. Anna Pighinelli finishes her tenure. 

Citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) - or citrus greening has gained attention for its potential of damage to commercial orchards in Brazil and United States. It is another excellent opportunity to bring international collaborative efforts towards producing solutions on common interest problems. HLB is a major disease caused by a phloem-restricted bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter Asiaticus. It is transmitted among trees by the Asian citrus pysllid, Diaphorina citri, affecting all commercial citrus varieties, causing mottling of leaves, stunting of growth and formation of small, deformed fruit which fail to color properly. HLB can destroy citrus plantations within 5 to 8 years. The selected scientist, Dr. Eduardo Chumbinho de Andrade, will focus on nanotechnology approaches to increase the efficiency of RNAi technology to control the pysllid vector. It is a highly relevant project due to its potential for short term application. The work will be carried out jointly with Dr. David Hall and Dr. Wayne Hunter, as counterparts, at the USDA-ARS Subtropical Insects Research Unit, U. S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, FL.

Animal Genetic Resources - A young researcher, Dr. Samuel Rezende, was incorporated into the program and assumed the position of LABEX Genetic Resources at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation (NCGRP) in early 2013. In May, a first batch of sugar cane accessions was sent to Embrapa Cenargen, with a total of 25 clones, as well as  cryopreserved cassava clones in continuity to the actions initiated by Dr. Alfredo Alves.