Biotech Solutions for Food and Fuel

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Biotech is key for meeting rising worldwide demand for food and alternative fuels, according to many speakers at the World Congress. Richard Hamilton of Ceres, Inc. discussed how biotech can help increase agricultural production without expanding land use. He also believes energy crops can play a part in low-carbon biofuel production in the US. Hamilton announced Ceres’ plan to launch Blade Energy Crops, a brand of premium seeds and seed traits for non-food, low-carbon crops for biofuels. Jeff Broin of POET Energy noted that biofuels provide incentives to increase agricultural production around the world. “Farmers – in addition to harvesting a crop for food and fuel – can harvest biomass. And farmland around the world that has sat unproductive for decades – and I’m not talking about rainforests – can now be used for food and fuel,” he said. Monsanto Company and Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. also outlined an agreement to apply Monsanto’s expertise in crop testing, breeding and seed production to perennial grass seed varieties Mendel is developing for use in biofuels and other commercial applications.