Interesting first day of the 5th annual Bioscience Conference at Worthington Thursday. Dale Wahlstrom of the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota opened the session, discussing the Alliance’s vision for the Life Sciencs industry in Minnesota, developed with Deloitte Consulting. The vision focuses on five general industries in Minnesota:
- Medical Devices
- Animal Health
- Renewable Energy
This year’s Bioscience Conference highlighted Animal Health and Renewable Energy. There was great coverage on the front page of the local daily newspaper of the afternoon sessions on animal health:
Use of antibiotics in livestock debated at Bioscience Conference
WORTHINGTON — Scrutiny over antibiotic use in the livestock industry continues to make headlines across the United States and around the world, making it a timely topic at the 2009 Bioscience Conference Thursday afternoon in Worthington.
The animal health track at the conference gave visitors five perspectives on the use of antibiotics, from the impact it has on animals and humans, to food safety and the environment….
A couple of the presenters spoke of the time and money it takes to get an antibiotic approved for use in the livestock industry. Often, a decade or more of research is needed and tens of millions of dollars are spent before an antibiotic ends up on the market….
Couple of interesting points here regarding opportunities and challenges. I’ve worked with a number of counties on local water management planning, and the issue of nutrient management always comes up. Satish Gupta, professor of soil, water and climate at UMN, has conducted research at Lamberton Ag Experiment station in Southwest Minnesota. The Globe reports:
Increased concentration of soil-applied manure…shows an increased uptake of antibiotics by the plants. Gupta said while antibiotic levels in plants appears minimal, there are some implications on organic vegetable growers who use manure as fertilizer.
In addition to the concerns of antibiotic levels in plants, Gupta said producers will need to be mindful of applying manure on erodible soils.
“If you have erosion of the soil, you’re going to want to control it because the soil can be carrying antibiotics,” he said.
Dr. Robert Elde, Dean of the UMN College of Biological Sciences finished up the first day with details of projects supported by the U’s Initiative for Renewable Energy & the Environment.
I attended the second track on renewable energy, with sessions on wind & solar power, ethanol & biodiesel, and future biomass feedstocks. Today the conference wrap-up aimed to bring the two tracks together. More on that later.