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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

The Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) is a major citrus pest in Spain. Although medfly is being controlled chemically, alternative biorational strategies should be developed, like those based on conservation biological control of polyphagous predators. The ground beetle Pseudophonus rufipes (De Geer) is the most abundant carabid inhabiting the ground of citrus orchards in eastern Spain. However, little is known about its activity-density and predatory role against C. capitata in the citrus agroecosystem. Here, we report on its predatory potential on the medfly's developmental stages that take place in the citrus ground. This carabid species preyed efficiently on C. capitata third instar larvae and especially on pupae but not on teneral adults. Moreover, predation under field conditions was evaluated by detecting C. capitata DNA remains using PCR-based gut-content analysis. Half-life DNA detectability of C. capitata was of 32.33. h. Pseudophonus rufipes specimens were field-collected after C. capitata sterilized pupae were deployed in a commercial citrus orchard. Thereafter, the carabids captured by pitfall traps were analyzed, being DNA-remains of C. capitata detected in 22.2% of them. Data reported here clearly suggest that P. rufipes could play an important role in regulating medfly populations in citrus orchards. This information is particularly useful when biological control conservation strategies are being considered to control this pest. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Notararigo S.,CSIC - Biological Research Center | Nacher-Vazquez M.,Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology IATA | Ibarburu I.,University of the Basque Country | Werning M.,CSIC - Biological Research Center | And 6 more authors.
Carbohydrate Polymers | Year: 2013

Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) produce homopolysaccharides (HoPS) and heteropolysaccharides (HePS) with potential functional properties. In this work, we have performed a comparative analysis of production and purification trials of these biopolymers from bacterial culture supernatants. LAB strains belonging to four different genera, both natural as well as recombinant, were used as model systems for the production of HoPS and HePS. Two well characterized strains carrying the gft gene were used for β-glucan production, Pediococcus parvulus 2.6 (P. parvulus 2.6) isolated from cider, and the recombinant strain Lactococcus lactis NZ9000[pGTF] (L. lactis NZ9000[pGTF]). In addition, another cider isolate, Lactobacillus suebicus CUPV225 (L. suebicus CUPV225), and Leuconostoc mesenteroides RTF10 (L. mesenteroides RTF10), isolated from meat products were included in the study. Chemical analysis of the EPS revealed that L. mesenteroides produces a dextran, L. suebicus a complex heteropolysaccharide, and the β-glucan producing-strains the expected 2-substituted (1,3)-β-glucan. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

News Article
Site: www.reuters.com

A fire still burns from the worst ever accident in Azerbaijan's oil industry. An enquiry continues on the Dec. 4 disaster which took around 30 lives when a 27-hour storm raged across the Caspian Sea. "When the fire started, we sat in two lifeboats, but did not put them down on the sea surface as we were afraid that a storm could break them into pieces," Allakhverdi Mamedov, who was in charge of the stricken platform above the Guneshli oil field, told Reuters. "We were sitting and waiting for rescuers, when the hawsers of the other boat ripped, it dropped into the water and collapsed. Hawsers, which were holding other boats, broke as they did not withstand the pressure from the storm." That lifeboat was sent plunging into the sea where the impact broke it up, spilling those on board. Only two workers from that boat survived. Those in Mamedov's lifeboat spent the night dangling from the platform. They were only rescued the following day when, after the storm had subsided somewhat, a rescue helicopter was able to land on the platform. Thirty workers were lost after Guneshli, operated by Azeri state energy company SOCAR caught fire after the storm caused some of the its production equipment to collapse, damaging a natural gas pipeline. "I thought it was the last day of my life. We were afraid that the platform would blow up. The picture was horrible – heavy wind, high waves ... My very close friends died. It’s very painful to recollect that events," another worker, who declined to give his name, said. Rescuers have discovered nine bodies and search for 21 more as well as three workers who were swept into the sea from another platform some 11.5 miles (18.5 kilometers) away. The rig accident was the worst since the U.S. drilling ship Seacrest capsized during a typhoon in the Gulf of Thailand in 1989, killing more than 90 people. The previous biggest accident on an offshore oil platform in Azerbaijan killed 22 men in 1957. "This is the biggest tragedy in SOCAR's history. The fire on Guneshli platform was the biggest in Azerbaijan's oil industry since 1949, when the country started offshore oil production," SOCAR's vice president, Khalik Mamedov, told Reuters. "We lost 33 men in one day and that's horrible." "The chances of finding anyone alive equal zero," said SOCAR's first vice president, Khoshbakht Usifzade. "We lost our friends ... But we do our best to find bodies and hand them over to relatives." . Azeri and American specialists worked together to put out fires from oil and gas wells. "Thank to these efforts, the fire was extinguished on several wells, including one, where there was the risk of an oil spill, but some gas wells are still on fire," said Balamirza Agaragimov, chief engineer at Azneft, SOCAR's production union. "There were abnormal weather conditions that day and we could not expect that. The wind, which lasted for 27 hours, lifted waves to 8-10 meters height," SOCAR's Khalik Mamedov said. Critics questioned safety measures on the platform, which was built in 1984 with a 50-year operation term. "There were some shortcomings in the gas pipeline on the platform, which were difficult to identify, when the weather was normal," said Mirvari Gakhramanly, head of Azerbaijan's Oil Workers' Rights Protection Committee. Gakhramanly, who was the first to report fatalities, said that mistakes had been made during the evacuation. Usifzade said the company would review safety measures on its platforms, many of which were built in Soviet times. "We are not going to sit on our hands, of course ... Our engineers will think about new safety measures on platforms in case of very high waves," he said. He added the company also planned to buy new lifeboats. "Those lifeboats were modern and had been purchased in South Korea. But it seems we need to buy other lifeboats with a different modification, which are more suitable for our weather conditions," Usifzade said. The platform had daily production of 920 tonnes of oil and 1.08 million cubic meters of gas. It is one of 14 platforms on the Guneshli oilfield. SOCAR produces about 60 percent of its oil from Guneshli. Unlike for other major oil producers, foreign companies do not provide servicing for SOCAR-led platforms, a total number of 193 and most of them build in 1980s. British oil major BP, which accounts for around 75 percent of Azeri oil production, runs a total of eight platforms. BP said that its operations were not affected by the outage. Valery Nesterov, a veteran analyst with Moscow-based Sberbank CIB, said that offshore oil and gas production is always associated with big risk, even if safety is on the highest level. "Such accidents are again raising a big question over the need to explore Arctic offshore," Nesterov said.

News Article | November 9, 2015
Site: cleantechnica.com

The global green bonds market continues to expand into the developing countries which hold immense potential to attract several new investors. Mexico’s state-owned development bank Nacional Financiera S.N.C, or Nafin, recently issued the first green bond of the country. The bank issued bonds worth $500 million for a coupon rate of 3.41% for a period of 5 years. Rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch rated the bond A3 and BBB+, respectively. The bonds are also the first in Latin America to have received Climate Bonds Certification. The coupon rate of the bond issue possibly seemed very attractive to investors as the issue was oversubscribed 5 times; that is prospective investors were ready to pour in as much as $2.5 billion in the issue. The coupon rate was 190 basis points more than that of the 5-year US Treasury Bond. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Agricole CIB, and Daiwa Capital Markets America were the lead managers for the issue, while Sustainalytics provided a second review for the bond issue. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is among the top 5 underwriters for green bonds issued this year so far. The proceeds of the bond issue will be used to finance 9 wind energy projects located in various parts of Mexico. According to the Climate Bonds Initiative, the total green bonds issuance this year has now crossed $33 billion, just shy of the 2014 total issuance of $36.59 billion. As per a report recently published by the United Nations, demand for green bonds is significantly higher than the supply. And Moody’s expects developing countries, especially India and China to play a major role in the expansion of the global green bonds market.    Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”   Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10.   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.  

News Article | November 3, 2015
Site: www.techtimes.com

In a bid to make the streets safer, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration intends to recommend and include automatic emergency as part of the five-star vehicle safety ratings. This addition to the safety ratings will start with 2018 models. The NHTSA announced in September that it has reached agreements with 10 carmakers to use the AEB technology as a standard feature in their vehicles. "We are adding automatic emergency braking features to the 5-Star Rating System because crash-avoidance technologies can save lives and should be widely accessible. AEB can substantially enhance safety, especially with the number of distracted drivers on the road," Anthony Foxx, U.S. transportation secretary, says in a news release. AEB technology is a semi-autonomous system that can put a vehicle to a complete stop or slow it down before a rear-end crash occurs, significantly saving a lot of lives. It is estimated to reduce rear-end collisions, which cause the death of 1,700 car occupants on a yearly basis, up to 80 percent. This technology can automatically engage the brakes when it detects possible collision using both radar and camera sensors, regardless of whether the driver is aware or not. It's divided into two systems: crash imminent braking (CIB) and dynamic brake support (DBS). CIB is responsible for applying brakes when the driver is unaware of an imminent rear-end collision, whereas DBS is in charge of making sure that the vehicle is using enough braking power when the driver is not applying enough to avoid a rear-end collision. The NHTSA has been recommending advanced safety technologies since 2011, including electronic stability control (ESC), lane departure warnings and forward collision warnings. Also, the agency replaced ESC with mandated rearview video systems in 2014 — a requirement starting with 2019 vehicles. To make advanced safety technologies more widespread to the public, the NHTSA created a website as well as a video about AEB technology. The video below demonstrates how AEB technology works, explaining how the two systems will function to prevent rear-end crashes.

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