Researchers of the Animal Science Institute members of the Youth Council of this center, shared experiences with JR about their work and that of the structure which contributes to the youngest members’ self-improvement
«We receive scientific training and undertake new ways to research and work by getting feedback from highly qualified professionals, like masters and doctors», said master in Food Biochemistry and chair of the group Moisés Valera Rojas. Photo: Carlos CánovaZoom
GÜINES, MAYABEQUE.— A space for the youth´s exchange of ideas, concerns and projects came up in 1994, in the Animal Science Institute (ICA). It’s the Youth Scientific Council of this entity. Made up by 11 members, 18 permanent guests and 14 scholars who attend sessions depending on the topic, the structure represents a step forward for its members’ learning.
“We receive scientific training and undertake new ways to research and work by getting feedback from highly qualified professionals, like masters and doctors”, said master in Food Biochemistry and chair of the group Moisés Valera Rojas.
“In the process of the masters’ thesis or doctorate the applicants receive counseling from a multidisciplinary team, composed of veterinarians, biomedical specialists, biologists, agronomists, mechanics, hydraulic specialists and others.
“The young members of the Council –he added- are enthusiastic, responsible, committed with learning a bit more every day, not wasting time and always in fashion”. We spread joy, but without getting away from responsibility, since we are the pool for the experienced researchers of the Institute”.
The relations with veterans are essential for these youngsters. In Valera Rojas’ opinion, they have a different view and are complementary. “They guide us into more accurate ways for researching, but we give them freshness and energy for innovating, for doing more, which is typical of the youth”, he said.
This year the Council is planning different activities and initiatives. Chief among them is the organization of conferences and meetings with young members of Mayabeque’s scientific complex, especially with those of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology. Additionally, they organize the Inter Joven event, to be run in 2016. This project came up as a result of the Council’s impact and brings together novel livestock researchers.
The event has spread beyond the limits of ICA and has collected the work of young researchers from Venezuela, Angola, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, nations which display the guidelines and achievements of their labor.
Among the lines of study there is the validation of national sources of minerals for use in animal feeding. The veterinarian and ICA scientists’ pool, Odrey Mesa Fleitas, takes part currently in the moringa project.
“I’m responsible for assessing the effectiveness of this plant as food for hens, chickens and ducks in replacement for corn and soja, imported raw materials at high cost. Through this researche the cost of food is lowered and good results are obtained in these fowls’ feeding”, he stressed.
In addition ICA works in the management and feeding of monogastric animals and ruminants, seed production for the pasture areas and new salinity and drought resistant clones like the pennisetum.
Fill the Bag with A Dream
More than four times Moisés travelled the 243 km between Mayabeque and Villa Clara. The main reason for this was to carry out his master’s thesis, and the need for an atomic absorption spectroscopy instrument forced him to hit the road ignoring exhaustion.
“This instrument - he explained- is used for assessing the concentration of minerals in any kind of organic or inorganic sample.
“For the validation of a national source of minerals, we analyze the heavy metal deposition in animals consuming them. When this food comes from phosphoric rocks, they could lead animals to store heavy metals in their organs.
“We have tested different species like fattened up chickens and dairy cows. And the danger of heavy metals getting into our body is real, ever since the humans eat from these animals. We assess the amount of residuals of these harmful agents in the bodies of animals.
“I had to travel to Villa Clara every two or three months to perform these measurements, for the spectrophotometer was there, which allowed me to read samples of bone and blood.
“Two years later, one of these instruments was allotted to ICA, after so much travelling I was entrusted with it”.
The impact of these projects is observed in the system of extension planned by the center, since the researchers go to provinces and contact the cooperative producers, who are counseled by them on pasture, management and animal feeding.
Moisés said that thanks to the technology applied by them a rise in milk production was registered in Granma, alongside the biomass bank or the CT-115 clone for animal feeding in drought periods.
“The Cuban researches have had a great impact. This is evident in the growing number of people interested in attending our events and gaining experience.
“ICA has incidence not only in Cuba, but also in the tropical region. We have taken its results to countries like Mexico and Nicaragua. Uruguay and Argentina, countries with a vast experience in cattle raising, they have requested our advice and wish to cooperate with Cuban researchers”, he stressed.
From Vedado to Catalina de Güines
Nightfall often sees Mabel Crespo Nicot on the wide streets of the capital city, near traffic lights and people walking hurriedly. Nonetheless, sunrises changed for her six years ago.
The sunshine always surprises her 52 km west of Havana, near Catalina de Güines, where ICA is based. The zootechnist veterinarian works in the Management and Rumiant Feeding Department.
-How did you accepted to work this far from home, in Mayabeque?
-I am from Vedado and I live there. My daughter and me take the ICA bus every day, she is in the community kindergarten. In College I was involved in a project for the training of genetic specialists, attached to the genetic department of the center.
“After graduating in the School of Veterinarian Medicine and Zootechnics in the Agrarian University, I was offered the job in the Institute.
“I’m surrounded by builders in the family, but I love veterinary. I wouldn’t have liked to work with cattle, but I would have if needed. ICA has given me the chance of growing professionally in a branch like animal feeding, essential for their existence and reproduction”.
Is this the only area you have worked in?
-I have always worked the food production line for dairy cows, mainly in the sugarcane-based food, linked to other protein crops like manioc. My masters’ thesis is on that.
-“I take part in national and foreign projects, I have fulfilled missions in the country and abroad. The fact that I belong to the Young Scientific Council has boosted my thesis, which I thank for the possibility of learning and having relations with other institutions for new projects”.
-Tell us about the social impact of the work carried out...
This is evident in the repercussion of the types of food we suggest. We have lowered the import level, mainly the concentrates, which are the basic food for dairy cows, since the sugarcane and the manioc contain a high energetic and protein level. All this means an essential contribution to the country’s economy amid its economic model update, demanding a higher endeavor by youngsters. I think that the Council, I proudly belong to, is well in on that way.
Translated by ESTI