Headline Mar 16, 2015/ ''' BRAZIL : THE INVENTION FACTORY '''

''' BRAZIL : 


MAKING A DECENT LIFE in the hottest regions of the world has always been a colossal headache.

*BUT Brazil's fertile research lab makes food suited to the tropics*.

To Aristotle, nothing of use could be coaxed from the soils of  ''torrid latitudes,'' and whenever Europeans tried, their colonies tended to  ''sizzle and die'' writes environmental historian Alfred W. Crossby.

But Brazilians have long thought otherwise.

Thanks to some stubborn scientists, agronomists and farmers. Brazil is turning some of the most inhospitable regions of the tropic into cornucopia.

Much of the credit goes to the government-run-agriculture-research company, a one-stop invention shop known by its Portuguese acronym, Embrapa.

Thirty three years old, Embrapa has a string of creations to its name: 

Multicolored ornamental sunflowers, colored cotton and an ''electronic tongue'' (more efficient than the human palate)- for tasting wine and other beverages.

But Embrapa's boldest work to date has been to take food crops that flourish only in the temperate regions of the planet   -wheat, soyabeans, garden vegetables and pasture grass  -and adapt them to the tropics.

The Agency's previous attempt was a huge success. In the 1980s Embrapa scientists took Asian and American soybean varieties and, through selective breeding and gene splicing, made them flourish in Brazil's sun-baked western prairie.

Now Brazil is the world's second largest soy producer, after the United States. The agency's most recent crop, on the other hand  -the handsome Alvorada carrot -is a cautionary tale of scientific hubris.

In the steamy tropics, a carrot's life is short and drab. Those that survive the summer come up knobby, due to a carrot disease, and tinged green. After tinkering, for two decades, Embrapa's garden vegetable division came up with the Alvorada {dawn}-

An all season carrot that grows fat and straight as a ramrod and is a comely, consistent orange. But the Alvorada is not all good looks. It was built to withstand disease and pests (leaf blight, nematodes)-

That prosper in the withering heat and humidity of the short latitudes. And it boasts 35% percent more carotenoids (a vitamin A precursor) than varieties planted elsewhere in Latin America.

When Embrapa launched the carrot in 2000, scientists thought it would sweep the market. 

It hasn't, largely because Brazilian consumers didn't care to pay a premium. The Alvorada is cheaper than imported carrots, but far more expensive than the ordinary, knobby-traditional varieties.

And to most consumers, cost is what counts. ''Brazilians don't even know yet what carotene is,'' says Jaro Vidal Vieira, Embrapa's carrot expert. Slowly, he thinks, they'll come to realize the benefits of eating healthier.

''I'll bet my career on it,'' he says. 

Rather than wait, Vieira's revising his first draft of the Alvorada with an eye to lowering its price.

Next year he expects to launch an uber-Alvorada that's got as much or more carotene and is at least 15 percent more productive.

The Alvorada's dawn may be near at last. 

With respectful dedication to all the Students, Professors and Teachers of Brazil and the world.. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Research Lab '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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