This Week in Biotechnology

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Can you make fuel out of tobacco? Apparently you can if they’re genetically engineered tobacco plants.

According to Alternative Energy,

“Researchers from the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University have developed a new method to increase the quantity of oil in tobacco leaves. So that oil in tobacco leaves can be utilized as biofuels in future. Their paper was published in Plant Biotechnology Journal which is an online journal.”

Alternative Energy goes on to write,

“According to Dr. Andrianov, “Tobacco is very attractive as a biofuel because the idea is to use plants that aren’t used in food production. We have found ways to genetically engineer the plants so that their leaves express more oil. In some instances, the modified plants produced 20-fold more oil in the leaves.””

That’s another feedstock to add to the list.

Xconomy in Seattle has come up with the top five innovations to watch in the coming decade. They are:

  1. The Return of Nanotechnology
  2. Industrial Applications of Synthetic Biology
  3. P4 Medicine. A term coined by Leroy Hood to embody Personalized, Predictive, Preventive, and Participatory medicine.
  4. Merger of the ‘Cloud’ Computing and Mobile Devices.
  5. In-Vivo Cell Potentiation

Read more about these at Xconmony.

And now, the fifty hottest companies in bioenergy announced by Biofuels Digest for 2009-2010. Well it’s a long list so we won’t tell you who all fifty are, but you can find that list on the Biofuels Digest web site. The first five are:

  1. Solazyme
  2. Poet
  3. Amyris
  4. BP Biofuels
  5. Sapphire Energy

Congratulations and best wishes for 2010.