Biotech Solutions for Food and Fuel Highlighted at World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, April 30, 2008) - Biotechnology is the key to meeting rising worldwide demand for food and alternative fuels, by boosting agricultural production, producing biofuels from energy crops, and increasing the efficiency of biofuel production, according to many of the speakers at BIO’s World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing. The annual conference of more than 1200 scientists, business leaders, and government officials ended today in Chicago.

Richard Hamilton, president and CEO of Ceres, Inc. noted that biotechnology can help increase agricultural production throughout the world without expanding land use. He also stated that energy crops can already play a part in low-carbon biofuel production in the United States. “A lot of people have had the attitude that dedicated energy crops are something that happens way in the future. Energy crops are not some distant fantasy, they’re here today. We really are ready not only from the biorefinery side, but also from the feedstock side, to move this technology toward commercialization,” Hamilton said during the plenary lunch on Tuesday. 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, founder and CEO of POET Energy, noted that biofuels provide incentives to increase agricultural production around the world, speaking at the Tuesday plenary lunch. “Farmers – in addition to harvesting a crop for food and fuel – can harvest biomass. We see advancements that are significantly increasing productivity and yields. 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 a collaborative 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. “Mendel sees a bright future for second generation biofuels. We recognize the need to continue growing our capabilities and expertise to enable us to best serve farmers and refiners with proprietary seed products,” said Neal Gutterson, president and chief executive officer of Mendel.

The World Congress is the only global conference dedicated solely to the most recent advancements in industrial biotechnology. The 2008 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing is co-organized by the American Chemical Society, the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council and the U.S. Department of Energy.

For more information on the 2008 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, please visit the conference webpage at

The Advanced Biofuels & Climate Change Information Center presents the latest commentary and data on the environmental and other impacts of biofuel production. Drop in and add your comments, at

Upcoming BIO Events

    World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing 
     April 27-30, 2008
     Chicago, IL

     BIO International Convention
     June 17-20, 2008
     San Diego, CA

   Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
    Sept. 10-12, 2008
    Vancouver, BC


About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.