UN Periódico - Universidad Nacional de Colombia
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Unidad de Medios de Comunicación - Unimedios
UN Periódico
A New Bee Species with an Unusually Long Tongue

Found in the Department of Nariño, near the Ecuadorian border, captivating because of its bright colors, but above all because of its enormous tongue, which is twice as long as its body, the world's longest until now.[more]

Scientists estimate that there are around 20,000 species of bees in the world, and approximately 5,000 are found in the Neotropic, in other words, in Latin America, according to Carlos Sarmiento Monroy, an entomologist at the Institute for Natural Sciences of the Universidad Nacional (National University).
River Bogotá
Microorganisms Clean the Air around the Bogotá River

A system that uses microorganisms to degrade sulfur, which is the main environmental pollutant in the zones around the Bogotá River, is reducing concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas, which is highly corrosive and damaging to the health of the inhabitants.[more]

When traveling along the road leading to the Salto del Tequendama waterfall (in the Department of Cundinamarca), one normally detects an aroma similar to rotten eggs that seems to come from the waters of the Bogotá River. It actually comes from a gas known as hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which is produced not only by contamination of the aquifer but is also emitted by meat processing industries and electric power generation along the river banks.
An “Oil Boom”? For how long?

With an average production of 900,000 barrels per day, the country's current oil reserves would be exhausted in around four years. Rather than engaging in useless debate about a bonanza, analysis must focus, for example, on the ability to find 180 million barrels per year of new exploitable reserves in order to maintain the production levels that have been achieved.[more]

For several months, diverse media have been insisting on the existence of an oil boom that will serve as one of the big locomotives for this country's development in coming years. This has generated a rather useless debate as to whether the increase is real or if it is simply a fallacy to speak of a bonanza in a nation which, as has frequently been said, is not an oil country. It is more enriching to analyze for how long the production that has been achieved until now can be sustained.
90% Precision in Detecting Breast Cancer

As opposed to current methods that are 65% effective, a new system created by engineers at the National University makes it possible to detect breast cancer with nearly 90% precision.[more]

With greater precision than in conventional methods for detecting cancerous masses, biomedical engineers at the Universidad Nacional (National University) launched their Support System for Breast Cancer Diagnosis, a disease that affects 7,000 Colombian women each year (according to the 2010 National Survey on Demography and Health / Encuesta Nacional de Demografía y Salud 2010) and which can be cured as long as it is discovered in time.
Orthopedic Surgeries in the Technological Vanguard

X-rays and other advanced imaging technologies provide specialists with the most accurate possible information on the part of the skeleton to be surgically treated. Now, a three-dimensional computer modeling tool and a prototype adapted to each patient will make it possible to carry out such surgeries with greater precision and in less time.[more]

Skeletal deformations can produce pain and affect a person's physical performance. Diagnostic imaging such as x–rays, computerized axial tomography and magnetic resonance allow orthopedists to identify and locate the precise areas of these alterations, helping them to plan the needed surgical correction (osteotomy).
Parkin and Pink, Genes that Signal the Appearance of Parkinson’s

The cause of this degenerative disease remains a mystery. Colombian scientists are following the clue of two genes that are involved in inherited cases. The goal is to find answers involving sporadic cases, which represent nearly 95% of those diagnosed.[more]

urs when the neurons that produce dopamine are slowly destroyed. Without this important neurotransmitter hormone, brain cells cannot appropriately send messages, leading to loss of muscular function, which worsens over time.
Science and technology
A Virtual Technique Will Make It Possible to Predict Genetic Diseases

Using knowledge of the genome to anticipate diseases that a person will suffer is close to being a reality. A technique developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin—Madison and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, based on tiny structures known as nanochannels, is helping to decipher the genetic code with greater detail and speed.[more]

What if a medical consultation could tell you that in 10 years time you will suffer from cancer, Parkinson's, arthritis or other afflictions, but that treatment to prevent the onset of the disease could begin now? Surprising isn't it? Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States and from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellín are working jointly to achieve this important scientific advance.
Science and technology
Using Satellite Information to Warn of Overflowing Rivers

Using data obtained in space, researchers measured river levels in the Orinoco basin and the approximate amount of water contained in its main river flows. They were thus able to develop a hydrological monitoring network that governmental institutions would be able to use to predict flooding and avoid possible catastrophes.[more]

The crisis that Colombia has gone through over the past five years because of the rainy seasons has resulted in the destruction of millions of crops and numerous victims in much of the national territory. Experts agree that one of the gravest errors has been the lack of prevention and follow-up on the country's main river flows.
Science and technology
The Black Box: from Aircraft to Automobiles

Physicists have designed a device for automobiles to make it possible with a high degree of reliability to determine what occurs in a traffic accident and thus facilitate judicial proceedings. A black box, but for automobiles.[more]

After an air accident, part of the work of first responders is to find the aircraft's black box where the flight parameters and conversations of the crew during an emergency are recorded. The compilation of those data makes it possible to reconstruct what happened before the accident and to determine its causes.
Science and technology
Electronic waste, a mine for precious materials

Junked computers, cell phones or TVs could be a gold, silver or copper mine, according to UN students, through a chemical process called hydrolysis.[more]

Although there are companies devoted to the extraction of precious materials on an industrial scale, seven Mining College students have come up with a novel model. Unlike more traditional procedures, this one uses hydrolysis to extract these elements from disposed computer electronic boards.
Science and technology
Creating biodegradable polystyrene from mushroom waste

A group of students from Universidad Nacional in Medellín is utilizing the waste from abandoned edible mushroom heaps and turning it into biodegradable polystyrene for commercial use. [more]

Researchers have discovered that waste utilized in commercial mushroom farming, such as sawdust, grass, plantain leaves, coffee waste, amongst others are compacted after being mixed with mycelium, the reproductive colonies of fungi. Furthermore it has an assembly quality that enables the creation of an element similar to polystyrene.
Science and technology
Machine would dry yucca leaves for nutritional purposes

A thermodynamic design, developed by Mining College researchers, dehydrates yucca leaves for animal or human consumption.[more]

Víctor Hugo Borda, a researcher of the Applied Thermodynamic and Alternative Energy Group (TAYEA, for its Spanish acronym) of UN, developed a thermo-photovoltaic device, in other words, a device that will allow the exchange of heat and electric energy inside a drying chamber for the extraction of moisture contained within yucca leaves.
Science and technology
“Papa criolla” will now be canned and naturally preserved

Work performed by UN, in conjunction with potato growers has come up with a genetic improvement of the potato so that it can be canned and naturally preserved, while still maintaining its primary characteristics.[more]

Speaking with this news agency, Luis Ernesto Rodríguez, the academic secretary of the Faculty of Agronomy of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, explained that this project was multidisciplinary and had two distinct goals: a genetic improvement of the potato, and the industrial processing headed by Professor Aníbal Herrera, Director of the Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos (ICTA) of UN.
Erosion Alert at Colombian Beaches

Over the last year, Bocagrande, in Cartagena, has lost 50 meters of its coastline due to problems stemming from erosion and rising tides (mares de leva). Palmeras, in the Gorgona National Natural Park, is going through a similar situation. The infrastructure, tourism and a unique species of turtle found only there are seriously threatened. Experts point to the need to take action in the affected zones and to recover the coasts.[more]

While the country tries to recover from one of its most extreme series of floods in recent years due to the winter rainy season, some of the coastal zones of Colombia are threatened by climate variability in this region of the continent, according to a study carried out by the research group on Oceanography and Coastal Engineering (Oceánicos) at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, the Research Center for Environmental Management and Development (Centro de Investigación para el Manejo Ambiental y el Desarrollo – Cimad) and the Universidad de Cantabria (Spain).
First Map of Diseases that Affect Decorative Fish in Colombia

Bacterial infections are afflicting and killing the most popular decorative fish in the country, according to an epidemiological study that examined 4,000 of these animals and more than 100 species found in the departments of Vichada, Guainía, Putumayo, Amazonas and Meta and in export warehouses in Bogotá. [more]

The use of fish for decorative purposes dates as far back as ancient Babylonia −around the fifth century B.C.−, and currently in certain cultures such as in Asia, these aquatic animals are a sign of socioeconomic status.
Dinosaur Discovered in Boyacá

For the first time, the remains of a dinosaur have been found in Villa de Leyva. In this municipality in Boyacá, known for its marine species fossils, scientists from the Universidad Nacional identified a sauropod approximately 125,000,000 years old. The finding of this land animal refutes the hypothesis that this region was far from the seacoast 145 million years ago.[more]

In 2005, a farmer in Villa de Leyva, who lived on a hillside in La Carolina, found what, at first glance, seemed to be two common ordinary rocks. His curiosity made him doubt this, however, and so despite their considerable weight, he took them to the Colombian Geobiology Foundation (Fundación Colombiana de Geobiología) in a rural area of the municipality, where experts confirmed his suspicions: those two objects found in the open air were actually fossils.
Threatened Bird is Saved

The pava caucana, an endemic bird of Colombia classified as being in danger of extinction, is recovering its survival possibilities in the Yotoco Natural Reserve (in the Department of Valle del Cauca). The good condition of this forest has made it possible to conserve 100 members of this species.[more]

Not much is known about the elusive Penelope perspicax, commonly known as the pava caucana or pava de monte. This galliform bird, which belongs to the Cracidae family, found in the geographical valley of the Cauca River, is on the list of endangered species, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), partly due to loss and fragmentation of its habitat as well as hunting.
The Mortiño, a promising fruit for the country's health and economy

A fruit with properties that help to prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer and Parkinson’s is set to become an important export product. Mortiño, as it is popularly known, is being intensively studied while at the same time used to produce jams, sauces and even wines.[more]

The mortiño, or Andean blueberry (arándano), scientifically known as the Vaccinium meridionale Swartz, has been found to contain pigments known as anthocyanins, which act as antioxidants (substances that protect cells) in organisms.
Mining industry
Oil: a Bonanza without Crude

Record production and good international prices are the ingredients of the so-called oil boom that has accounted for 40% of Colombia's exports. However, large discoveries of crude have yet to be confirmed and the estimated 2,058,000 barrels of reserves are being exhausted.[more]

Oil production in Colombia has reached record levels. The country is producing around 927,000 barrels per day, the highest figure since 1999, when 780,000 barrels per day were produced. And expectations are even higher: the Ministry of Mines and Energy estimates that production will soon exceed 1 million, and for 2014 will have reached 1,150,000. An oil bonanza.
Cocoa: From Chocolate to Fuel

Biogas and syngas can be made using cocoa wastes, an underused product in Colombia that ends up being a significant environmental contaminant.[more]

Cocoa is thought of and used as a fruit with gastronomic for cosmetic purposes, but the Clean Development and Energy Management Mechanisms Research Group at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (National University of Colombia) decided to use it as a potential element for gas production.
Virus Created in the Laboratory Attacks Diarrhea in Cattle

One animal virus and another human virus are combined to create a vaccine against bovine viral diarrhea. It has already been successfully tested in cellular cultures and will now be tested on live animals. The results are promising for the country's livestock sector.[more]

Bovine viral diarrhea is an infectious disease that occurs during pregnancy and causes problems such as miscarriages or simply preventing pregnancy by causing the cows to go back into heat, thus decreasing the reproduction rate.
A Technology for Saving Energy in Ethanol Production

A new system will make it possible to manufacture ethanol using 35% less energy than is currently the case. In addition to reducing environmental impact, this technology doubles productivity in industrial biofuels processes.[more]

Sugarcane, molasses, corn, wheat, rye and wood are some of the raw materials used to make ethanol, a chemical compound also known as ethyl alcohol, present in diverse fermented beverages, particularly wine and beer, and with wide–ranging applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries.
A System to Reduce Soot Pollution

The diesel engine, used throughout the world because it is economical and consumes less fuel, involves incomplete combustion that generates soot, which is one of the most influential contaminants in global warming. Engineers have invented a system that reduces its atmospheric emissions.[more]

Incinerators, industries, heating systems and vehicles are some of the sources of pollution that constantly emit gases into the atmosphere such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide or lead, which are substances that affect people's health as well as the environment.
New Technique to Identify Birdsongs

The coffee-growing region in Colombia is home to nearly 10% of the world's birds, a wealth that has yet to be explored. Engineers from the UN in Manizales have come up with a procedure to identify species found in a particular area by their songs, facilitating classification and recognition.[more]

Making an inventory of the birds in an ecosystem is no easy task; generally, it is done through visual inspection in the field that involves arduous workdays of travel and observation and also requires auditory training.


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