– Classification of publications – All

18 Oct Municipal Solid Waste: What to do with the biodegradables?

Belgium Academies (ARB)
2010
Geen abstract, enkel deze draak van een samenvatting: The paper deals with the biodegradable part of waste generated by citizens in urban environments. This is essentially household waste and gardening waste. Assimilated to this category of waste is almost all that comes from restaurants, canteens and food shops inasmuch as its composition is similar to that of house hold waste. In the European Union, people generate currently 523 kg per inhabitant and per year of municipal solid waste (MSW). Hazards and nuisances associated with dumping are deemed unacceptable. Very specific and mandatory regulations make landfilling very difficult to manage. The trend is, accordingly, to reduce as far as possible the residual amount of waste to dump. Today, in most developed countries, local programs aim to separate household hazardous wastes (chemical cleaners, pesticides, paints, batteries, oils, etc…) and to recover certain materials (metals, paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, textiles, etc…) at the source. There remains however currently 204 kg/inhabitant. year of biodegradable waste in MSW, and it is responsible for most of the waste’s related disturbances in urban environments. For the European Union with its 500 million inhabitants, this makes 102 million Mg (1Mg = 1 metric tonne) of biodegradable MSW, i.e. approximately 20% of all biodegradable waste generated by economic activities each year in the EU. This justifies fully the present report.
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18 Oct Biotechnological Energy Conversion – Present Situation, Opportunities and the Research Required in the Future

National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)
2009
What will come after fossil fuels? Against the backdrop of the current discourse on the expanded use of biomass for energy generation, acatech, the German Academy of Science and Engineering, examines the numerous questions entailed therein with regard to feasibility and cost calculation. With the possible contribution of biotechnology in mind, a workshop was founded in the fall of 2008 focusing on the following questions: What are the problems at present? What future developments can be discerned? What are the areas requiring further research? The workshop lectures and selected contributions to the discussion are documented in written form here. The discussion focuses on bio-ethanol and biogas as energy sources, algae and plants as renewable energy sources.
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18 Oct Predictive Genetic Diagnostics as an Instrument for the Prevention of Illnesses

National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)
2010
The early diagnosis of treatable illnesses plays an ever greater role in modern medicine. Predictive genetic diagnostics in conjunction with rapidly developing analytical methods and the sequencing of entire genomes presents uncharted territory in this respect. A key task of the National Academy of Sciences is to take up such topics and problems in particular, which constitute uncharted territory for society, and present scientific recommendations for responding to them. With the statement on hand, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, acatech, which is the German Academy of Engineering Sciences, and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (representing the Association of German Academies of Sciences) take up a topic of both extraordinary social relevance and one that is under controversial public discussion. The statement comprehensively illuminates the broad topic of predictive genetic diagnostics from various sides. Against the backdrop of the current state of knowledge, the chances and limits of predictive genetic diagnostics are examined as well as its medical, ethical, economic and legal dimensions explored.
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18 Oct Pre-Implantation Diagnostics (PID) – the Impact of a Limited Approval in Germany

National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)
2011
Pre-implantation diagnostics (PID) is a diagnosis procedure that makes it possible for parents, who have a high risk of giving birth to a child with a serious hereditary disease, to give birth to a child who is not affected by the respective disease. In Germany, PID was considered to be prohibited pursuant to the Embryo Protection Law of 1990. The German Federal Supreme Court has argued in a ruling of July 6, 2010, that a prohibition of PID cannot be inferred with the requisite certainty from the Embryo Protection Law. Hence the lawmaker is called upon to take a clear-cut stand as to the question of the permissibility of PID. With the publication on hand, Leopoldina, which is the National Academy of Sciences, acatech, which is the German Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (representative for the Association of German Academies of Sciences) take on this current question and take an ad-hoc stand as to the question of pre-implantation diagnostics.
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18 Oct Biotechnologies, tomorrow

National Academy of Technologies of France (NATF)
2010
It is generally recognized that biotechnologies will be one of the major basis for the 21st century sustainable development. This report proposes six priorities in France integrating industrial and agricultural activities. 1. Application of biotechnologies should extend beyond traditional medication and health issues. 2. France should drive to become a champion of ecological intensive agriculture. 3. Chemistry and energy: meet the challenge of an increased use of biomass. 4. Drugs, medication and health: support biotechnology industry and emerging and innovative entrepreneurship. 5. Microbiology: encourage French research in meta-genomics, a new branch of genomics applied to complex microbial systems. 6. Restructure dispersed today research system for a better international visibility and competitivity.
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18 Oct Synthetic Biology: scope, applications and implications

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2009
This report aims to define the term ‘synthetic biology’, review the state of the field and consider potential future developments and their likely technological, economic and societal impact. It also attempts to assess the requirements for the development of the field and to identify key policy issues.  The report makes the following three recommendations:  1. The Government needs to develop a national strategy for synthetic biology in the UK.  2. Investment in training and research infrastructure is required.  This should focus on funding new centres for synthetic biology which would carry out both teaching and research. 3. Synthetic biology research needs to be conducted in collaboration with social scientists and philosophers in order to raise awareness of the ethical and societal issues.
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18 Oct Synthetic Biology: public dialogue on synthetic biology

Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) (RAEng)
2009
This report presents the findings of an exploratory public dialogue project, commissioned by the Royal Academy of Engineering and conducted by People Science and Policy Ltd (PSP) to explore uninformed and informed perceptions of and attitudes to synthetic biology in the UK. This study was carried out to complement the Academy’s inquiry into synthetic biology, published in May 2009 (www.raeng.org.uk/synbio) which recommended that: “an active and ongoing public engagement programme must be established which creates platforms for various stakeholders and publics to share their views on both the potential benefits of synthetic biology and their concerns as the technology develops”.  This report gives an early and preliminary insight into public perceptions and reactions to synthetic biology and reveals some issues and themes worthy of further exploration. The findings also provide a baseline measure of awareness in the UK which will be useful for comparing changes over time.
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18 Oct Arable crops: a source of renewable raw materials

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2010
Once the easily accessible reserves of oil are exhausted, plants will become increasingly important as an industrial resource. For this reason there will probably be a renaissance in wood, linseed, straw and other plant products as raw materials. The objective of research and development should be to optimise the practicability of production processes and the usefulness of the end products. There is a great need for research into the relatively new area of transgenic plants which could in some cases deliver specific high quality substances. We should be thinking about bio-refineries rather than oil refineries. Our most important task will be to improve public perception of such technologies and to consider the social consequences of introducing them and their implications for the overall safety of foodstuffs, not only in industrial nations but also in developing countries.
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18 Oct Synthetic biology – A new engineering science emerges

Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW)
2011
Synthetic biology is the attempt to create cells with specific properties. It is about to establish itself as a new engineering science. This brochure wishes to help to expound the opportunities and risks presented by this scientific area about which very little is known by the general public as yet. The discipline is in its infancy, and the results that have been achieved to date seem rather to be an extension of previous work in genetic engineering. However, scientists have already succeeded in synthesizing a whole genome of a bacterium and introducing this into a foreign bacterial cell envelope. The “new” bacterium exhibits the properties of the introduced genes. Researchers are concentrating their efforts on the development of minimal cells. These contain only the essential genes needed for cell growth and are intended to serve as a chassis for other newly developed genes and functions. The brochure opens with a philosophical contemplation which provides a counterpoint to the scientific viewpoint by questioning the extent to which that which is living can be described, and thus engineered. In the other contributions, important concepts in synthetic biology are discussed and concepts introduced by which the complexity of biological systems can be reduced. This is an important prerequisite for their commercial exploitation.
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18 Oct Statement: Synthetic Biology

National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech)
2009
Based on the disciplines of biology, molecular biology, chemistry, biotechnology as well as information technology and engineering sciences, a new field of research is evolving, called synthetic biology. It has attracted special attention recently, also on an international basis. Synthetic biology can make an essential contribution to the gaining of knowledge in basic research. Beyond that, it opens up options for biotechnological applications in the medium term, i.e. in the area of new and improved diagnostic agents, vaccines and drugs as well as the development of new biosensors and biomaterials or even biofuels. Concurrently, the research area opens up new questions, e.g. about legal aspects in the context of biological safety or the protection from abuse; likewise, questions about the economic use and ethical aspects. Against this backdrop, the German Research Foundation (DFG), acatech, which is the German Academy for Science and Engineering, and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina have pooled their strengths and crafted a joint statement on possible opportunities and risks of synthetic biology.
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