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Biotechnology Centre of Azores


The Biotechnology Centre of Azores, University of Azores (CBA-UAc), located in the Azores Archipelago, Portugal, is a research institution that aims to foster and conduct fundamental and applied scientific research to contribute to the Azores development, and produce knowledge to be used worldwide.

We have skills and competences in: a) plant biotechnology, namely plant tissue culture, genetic studies and germplasm conservation; b) molecular phytopathology, study of plants defense mechanisms and microorganisms with potential for pest control as biopesticides based in laboratory and small scale field assays; c) animal biotechnology, cell cultures, genotyping and assisted reproduction; d) food biotechnology, among other capacities. To fulfill these objectives the infrastructure holds fully equipped laboratories that allow research programs in molecular biology, genetics, plant, animal and food biotechnology, microscopy, microbiology and phytopathology, being molecular biology and genetics the core unit's.

As an Archipelago we have several natural resources, as sea, land, plants, animals, underwater hydrothermal vents, terrestrial geothermal hot springs, coastal and mountain ecosystems, volcanic soils, underground caves, that are unique and harbor organisms, plant and animals very interesting in terms of diversity, gene pool source and potential for added value products. Therefore one of the CBA-UAc main priorities is knowledge, conservation and valorisation of unique regional natural resources, through: i) genetic studies in plant and animals, ii) conservation of local endangered endemic plant species, iii) identification of bioactive compounds among local flora, iv) identification of molecules with commercial interest; v) conservation of animal resources using reproduction approaches like in the conservation of equines; and vi) screening organisms with high efficacy to control insect pests (biopesticides) based in laboratory and small scale field assays.

As a result we have been cooperating for the conservation and ecosystem recovery of Azorean endangered endemic plant species, by producing plants through micropopagation, using in vitro plant tissue cultures, regarding the local gene pool available. Also the CBA-UAC holds a collection of germplasm of traditional and endemic cultures of Azores, namely a collection of seeds and in vitro cultures of the traditional and endemic cultures of the Azores. The in vitro collection includes apple trees, grapevines, taro, pineapple, tea, sweet-potato among others. From the endemic species kept in vitro are included the endangered Juniperus brevifolia and Picconia azorica, the Vaccinium cylindraceum, Prunus lusitanica, among others. The CBA has been actively involved in the recovery of local breeds as the horse breed Terceira Pony, which was nearly extinct. The Centre used the infrastructures and equipment’s to increase the number of animals by using artificial insemination and studying the genetic relationships between individuals. The CBA also keeps a Bt collection and develops biopesticides studies to explore Azorean biodiversity to supply agro-biotechnologies with organisms/genes with potential to control pests. Likewise we hold a platform, that comprises collections of microorganism with specific activities and bacteria isolated mostly from volcanic events, to screen microorganisms for enzymes with specific features that carries out molecular identification of microorganisms as ribotyping and gene sequencing, and we are able to test bioactivities in bacteria, vertebrate cell cultures; C. elegans; Daphnia; Drosophila, focusing in enzymatic activities/inhibition, toxicity and suppression of cellular and humoral components of non specific defence reactions.







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