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ECO-PROJECT MAGUEY DO CERRADO

The Cultivar, Maguey do Cerrado, is an urban permaculture project. Its mission is to research, develop and replicate sustainability methodologies and environmental management in semi-arid environments.

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Through a dialogue network, it promotes the connection of groups, producers and training institutions, with the aim of developing products, services and training processes that enable sustainable local development.

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The effects of climate change, urbanization and water restriction in the planet make it difficult to obtain the water needed to meet the growing demands of agriculture. In Brazil, the need to preserve genetic and energetic resources aimed at bio-energy is especially important, as most of the crops that make up the productive foundation of the country are of exotic origin.

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Maguey do Cerrado is a cultivar which is a source for foods, fibers and fuels that, due to an interaction with the environment, requires less water because of its CAM (Crassulacean acid metabolism). The typical characteristic of those that use this metabolism is the production of reserve carbohydrates (fructans), which allow the development of the plant through osmoregulation, cryopreservation and tolerance to drought.

about

The Maguey do Cerrado ecotype is a morphological variety of the Salmiana section of the Agave genus grown in the Cerrado region of Goiás, located in the Central-West region of Brazil. Cerrado is a savanna biome that gathers a complex mosaic of several types of vegetation, which cover approximately 2,000,000 km of Central Brazil.

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The experimental growth of the ecotype Maguey do Cerrado was done in the city of Goiânia/Goiás/Brazil. It was established on a plot of 250 sq. metres (geographical coordinates 16°43’58.3″S 49°18’01.5″W), with an average altitude of 749m. Through a longitudinal study done between the years 1998 and 2015, pre-breeding and breeding activities were conducted, and a micro-model for growing Maguey do Cerrado was established.

The differentiation characteristics of the ecotype, which has undergone a process of humanization, adaptation to the environment and domestication, were studied and detailed in the project. The structural and functional modifications recorded were considered efficient adaptation strategies, as despite the hydro deficiencies of the region, the plants showed excellent physical development, demarcated maturation cycles, efficient propagation and sap production, all with industrial potential.

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The Maguey do Cerrado presents structural and functional characteristics of adaptation to environments with water restriction. Indicators of structural modification include the adaptations developed for greater efficiency in water absorption and lower energy expenditure. Another indicator can be measured by the quality of the sap produced by the plants; rich in polysaccharides, simple sugars and alcohol.

Preliminary results of the determination of the total sugars of Maguey do Cerrado sap in its natural state, revealed a fructophilic substrate composed of 62% sugars, 32% being fructose and 30% being glucose.

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The successful adaptation of CAM plants in challenging (semiarid) environments represents an important alternative for the production of biofuels, foods and medications. In this sense, the proof of the efficiency in the use of water by the Maguey do Cerrado constitutes an important physiological adaptation, which allows the plants to live in habitats characterized by intermittent hydro availability, thus becoming a species of potential economic value.

In the year 2016, we started a project of medium propagation of the Maguey do Cerrado, in the headquarters of the Cultivar.

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We intend to distribute 1200 seedlings a year to small family farmers, as well as offer practical permaculture and water management experiences for volunteers. For this, a nursery with capacity for 1200 seedlings was built.

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In January 2017, two hundred seedlings were transferred to the growing nursery area. They must stay there for one year before being sent to final planting (small family farms).

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development

We seek funding to expand the facilities of the growing nursery, in order to enable the development of a greater number of plants and consequently to distribute to a larger number of families willing to cultivate the Maguey do Cerrado.

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KEY AREAS

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Urban Cultivation;
Agroecological Cultivation;
Nursery;

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Studies and tests;
Intellectual production;
Cultivation of microorganisms;
Production of biomass and biopolymers;

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Gastronomy:
Elaboration of nutritive and functional caloric sweetener;
Manufacture of distilled beverages;

Nutraceuticals:
Manufacture of food fibers;

Design:
Ecological packaging;
Fiber Xaxins;

Tics and IoT:
Information platform;
Proof of concept app;
Traceable packaging;
Smart packaging;

Pharmacological Products:
Elaboration of Surgical Suture;
Manufacture of artificial leather;
Development of metabolic compounds;

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Printed media publications;
Digital publications;
Audio-visual;

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Offices;
Workshop;
Scientific divulgation;

It also stands out for rescuing a traditional experience – amplified by research and development, generating a new product and an alternate productive model with sustainable foundations in balance with nature.

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