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Life Technologies Corporation Message Board

  • washingtonmike78 washingtonmike78 Feb 15, 2010 2:04 PM Flag

    Life tech and SG Biofuels Aims to ‘Green’ Transportation With Fuel From Shrub

    Life tech and SG Biofuels Aims to ‘Green’ Transportation With Fuel From Shrub

    SG Biofuels recently announced a strategic alliance with Life Technologies Corp. of Carlsbad to advance the development of jatropha as a sustainable biofuel. The alliance brings together SG Biofuels’ Genetic Resource Center — which has the largest and most diverse library of jatropha genetic material in the world — with Life Technologies’ advanced biotechnology and synthetic biology tools. Life Technologies will also become a strategic partner in SG Biofuels. The partnership will initially include sequencing the jatropha curcas genome, allowing for the rapid introduction of new traits targeted toward increasing the yield of the oil-producing plant.



    Kirk Haney
    BY ANDREA SIEDSMA

    Kirk Haney is focused on the business of biofuels. Haney and his crew at Encinitas-based SG Biofuels are working on turning a Central American shrub called jatropha into the next cash crop for “greening” transportation around the globe.

    Jatropha seeds contain high amounts of oil that can be used for a variety of bio-based materials, including biodiesel and feedstock substitutes for the petrochemical and jet fuel industries. It can be effectively grown on marginal lands that are considered undesirable for other crops. The nonedible shrub made its debut in the biofuel spotlight a few years ago, but quickly fizzled out of the limelight due to exaggerated and unrealistic promises by some of its proponents. Today, a handful of companies like SG Biofuels have brought jatropha back to center stage and are developing sustainable and viable business plans to go along with it.

    SG Biofuels recently announced a strategic alliance with Life Technologies Corp. of Carlsbad to advance the development of jatropha as a sustainable biofuel. The alliance brings together SG Biofuels’ Genetic Resource Center — which has the largest and most diverse library of jatropha genetic material in the world — with Life Technologies’ advanced biotechnology and synthetic biology tools. Life Technologies will also become a strategic partner in SG Biofuels. The partnership will initially include sequencing the jatropha curcas genome, allowing for the rapid introduction of new traits targeted toward increasing the yield of the oil-producing plant.


    Platform For Genetic Improvements

    “Our partnership with Life Technologies was a huge coup for our company,” said Haney, SG Biofuels’ president and CEO. “The platform we have access to will allow us to bring the first transgenic and elite jatropha to market.”

    To do this, SG Biofuels has assembled some of the best plant biologists in the world, including UC San Diego cell biology professors Bob Schmidt, Steven Briggs, and Martin Yanofsky, and UCSD biology professor Maarten Chrispeels. Schmidt, SG Biofuels’ chief scientist, said advancements in biotechnology have given biofuel development a big boost.

    “It became apparent that nobody had really tried to domesticate this crop so we thought this was a fantastic opportunity to collect jatropha and use it as a platform for genetic improvement,” Schmidt said. “We can take advantage of a lot of today’s biotechnology techniques to accelerate breeding programs and make improvements with jatropha. We think that modern approaches to crop improvements can move the production of jatropha as a sustainable biofuel at a much more accelerated pace than other plant-based crops for biofuels.”

    Schmidt said the increased production of jatropha will help speed up green transportation around the world, in particular in Central and Latin America and throughout Europe, where diesel is the primary transportation fuel.

 
LIFE
76.040.00(0.00%)Feb 3 4:00 PMEST

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