Chinese scientists on a cassava fact-finding mission
A team of scientists from the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS) visited CIAT headquarters in early May to explore future possibilities for collaborative cassava research.
Joe Tohme, director of CIAT’s Agrobiodiversity Research Area, opened the visit with a brief overview of the Center and its recent accomplishments in cassava research. He highlighted the work of our genetic transformation platform – involving the introduction of foreign genes into plant cells to improve yield potential or stress tolerance – as well as advances in phenomics – involving the use of rapid and simple quantitative methods to understand plant growth and development – and in genomics, which deals with the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genes.
Jiaming Zhang, professor of metabolism engineering for bio-energy at the CATAS Institute of Tropical Bioscience and Biotechnology (ITBB), presented an overview of CATAS initiatives and accomplishments in various crop and fruit research programs.
In a visit to CLAYUCA Corporation (a cassava development network operating from Center headquarters in Colombia), the CATAS group discussed diverse industrial uses of the crop. They then undertook an intensive 5-day fact-finding mission, organized by CLAYUCA, during which they visited three contrasting cassava-production regions: the Andean mountains, dry coastal areas, and tropical savannas. In each region, the CATAS group met farmers, technicians from local institutions, and university professors.