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Newsletter - October 2012

While continuing to add new content to the Hub, we also endeavour to keep all our content current by adding news items and highlighting links to these in the relevant information sheets. We’ve recently updated one of our earliest focus stories – Robotic milking – which is now a commercial reality in New Zealand.

Robotic milking.

Many of our resources are also supported by resources on our sister site, the Science Learning Hub. Here, we highlight some of the latest links.

Robotic milking – update

Automatic milking popular with early adopters in New Zealand – News item
Adoption of automatic milking systems (AMS) is rapidly increasing internationally, and New Zealand farmers are beginning to follow suit. By 2012, nine New Zealand farms had adopted AMS, with several more to follow soon. The farms using the technology are spread throughout the country and include a broad range of farming systems.

Training cows to milk themselves – Information sheet
Robotic milking is a major change of approach to milking for both the farming staff and the cows. It takes time and training to teach the cows to take themselves to the robot. Learn how scientists taught the cows to use the robot in the Greenfield Research project.

How do robots milk cows? – Video
Jenny Jago explains how the milking process works in an automatic milking system. The robot needs to be able to cope with differences in individual cows and solve problems that may occur during the milking process.

To moove or not to moove – Interactive
In this interactive, students get to control the gates that determine each individual cow’s movement around the farm.

Making connections across the Hubs

Many of our themes and focus stories have links to resources on our sister site, the Science Learning Hub. Using the two sites together can extend and broaden the range of teaching resources available on a topic of interest.

You can navigate between the Biotech and Science Learning Hubs easily using the vertical tab on the right-hand side of the screen.

Breeding a new apple cultivar
Breeding a new apple cultivar, such as a red-fleshed apple, involves controlled pollination. The Pollination context, recently published on the Science Learning Hub, provides a range of resources that could be used alongside the Breeding red-fleshed apples focus story. For example, articles explain the science of pollination and fertilisation and the important work of honey bees in pollinating flowers. Student activities include Pass the pollen, in which students take on the role of flower parts and act out the process of insect pollination.

Forensics
Forensics is the application of science in a legal setting. Modern forensics makes use of DNA evidence and DNA profiling. In a new activity on the Science Learning Hub – Crime scene DNA – students learn about the collection and processing of DNA evidence and use DNA profiling to solve a crime. The activity is designed for use on an interactive whiteboard with the whole class and can also be used individually or in small groups at a computer or with a data projector and laptop.

News and events  

Keep up to date with the latest biotechnology news, events and radio broadcasts.

The good oil on wood – News item
Scientists at Scion have been finding ways to stop mould growing in homes and at the same time preserve timber using non-toxic treatments.

NZ-developed MS drug moves to second clinical trial – News item
A New Zealand-developed drug to help people with chronic, progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is having positive results according to the developers and overseers of the drug’s first round of clinical trials.

Bumblebees and pollination – RNZ audio
Plant & Food Research is investigating whether bumblebees can be used to pollinate flowers in commercial orchards.

Apple bioactives – RNZ audio
Compounds in apples that may help ease the symptoms of inflammatory diseases are being investigated by researchers at the University of Otago. The team is part of Nutrigenomics New Zealand.

More news and events

Contact us

We’d like to hear from you if you’re using Hub resources in the classroom or if you’re interested in helping us develop new resources. Please email enquiries@biotechlearn.org.nz, and we’ll be in touch.

Best wishes

The Biotechnology Learning Hub team

www.biotechlearn.org.nz

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