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Algal biotechnology is an area in which diverse disciplines integrate to attain a profitable use of micro- and macroalgae with the aim of generating new products of commercial interest.

The taxonomic diversity of the algae is metabolically reflected in the variety of compounds they produced, some of them of great toxicity while others of considerable commercial interest. Among the latter are substances of chemical-pharmaceutical importance. Algae can also be used as food for animals and humans, as fertilizer, in the depuration of residual waters, and as new sources of energy.

Algal biotechnology is an area of poor development in the world. For this reason, it still requires investment in basic research. Thus, for any species of interest, the studies should begin with an adequate taxonomic identification, research on its reproductive strategies, and eco-physiological characterization of its habitat. Once these aspects are known, with adequate management, they will permit a productive projection of its culture.

Governments of all the Latin-American countries through their Research & Developing entities are strongly promoting research in biotechnology, in order to achieve economic and social development; this includes the sustainable utilization of their natural resources and the maintenance of an unpolluted environment. In this sense, it is essential to integrate and divulge the scientific and technological knowledge generated in the research centers to attain its efficient transference to the productive sector.

The first Latin-American Congress in Algal Biotechnology was organized and held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2002. That meeting generated great enthusiasm and gathered Latin-American researchers working in related topics, with interesting perspectives for our region and the world. After 4 years, in 2008, the second version of the Congress was held in Xalapa, Mexico, where it was decided to hold these meetings every two years. Chile was proposed as the Congress venue for 2010. However, due to the earthquake and tsunami that struck our country and region last year (February 2010) forced us to postpone the event until January 2012.


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