Inherited sciences and knowledge converge – lights of the century
- Mexican plants traditionally used to treat cancer, to combat crop pests or those from which probiotics can be derived are studied and documented by local scientists.
YANIRETH ISRADE / REFORM AGENCY
Mexico City. Mexican plants traditionally used to treat cancer, to combat crop pests or those from which probiotics can be derived, have been studied and documented by local scientists conducting post-doctoral studies at various research centers in the country.
12 researchers of Mayan, Tzeltal, Mazatec, Mixtec, Otome and Mam ancestry are part of a postdoctoral residency program for indigenous Mexican women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, funded by the International Development Research Center (IDCR), Canada, and the National Science and Technology Council (Conacyt), with the Graduate Research and Studies Center in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) as responsible for its work.
“A lot of research is still lab level and what is involved here is transferring that technology, that knowledge, through training courses and workshops to the community, and we also learn from them and from the way they maintain their crops for example,” explains biologist Felicia Amalia. Mu Koh, she is originally from the Mayan town of Kubuma, Yucatan.
Master of Science in Tropical Horticulture, with Ph.D. in Sustainable Tropical Agriculture, Moo Koh studies native plants in the area, belonging to species such as Acslypha gaumeti, to research fungicides, nematicides, and insecticides that control crop diseases such as tomatoes or habanero chili peppers.
The residencies consist of two parts: one academic, developed by scholarship holders at the Kunasset Centers for Public Research, and the other the community.
From the lab to the backyard
For the academic part, Felicia Amalia Mo Koh at the Center for Scientific Research Yucatan (CICY) is working with Marcela Gamboa – postdoctoral students are required to join an ongoing project and work in collaboration with the principal investigator – to develop bioproducts that replace pesticides.
The main objective of the emergence of organic farming is to reduce the use of remaining commercial products as they damage the water table on the peninsula. Biological products based on native plants can replace the use and abuse of leftover products and try to reduce the impact of environmental pollution,” he explains.
The second part of his project, the Community Project, consists of communicating his findings to Kuboma residents who grow backyard crops, so they can learn about pathogens and the types of plants they can combat.
In addition to small vegetables, such as hot peppers or tomatoes, ornamental plants, such as roses, and, to a lesser extent, woody species are grown in kubuma.
“These crops are a source of additional income, because many work abroad, in the city, and those who remain in the community are women or the elderly,” she said.
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