Belgium and the Netherlands may find themselves in a race to grow the first GM poplars for biofuels.
According to a story in Nature Biotechnology and quoted by Biofuel Watch in an email, the Dutch Government may approve the planting of poplars for biofuel. If you can get to a library, you can see the article in Nature Biotechnology volume 27 number 2 February 2009 p. 107. Alternatively it will cost you $32 to view the article on line.
The gist is that…
Researchers at the Ghent, Belgium-based Flanders Institute of Biotechnology (VIB) have developed transgenic poplars deficient in the enzyme cinnamoyl-CoA reductase. This reduces the lignin content making them more suitable for bioethanol production, although so far their benefits have only been demonstrated in the lab.
A final decision from the Dutch government is due in spring 2009.
Information extracted by Hayley Birch. Well done Hayley.
Today the Dutch language, but Belgian, engineeringnet.be says The VIB has gained approval in Flanders, Belgium. So could the race be on?
The VIB website has some interesting stuff… The process it went through to get permission to grow the plants in Belgium, for instance. The fact that VIB has been working on GM poplars for about 10 years…
It is also worth making a note of cinnamoyl-CoA reductase. Remember it. I’m going to guess that it is one of the key components in work by seed/trait companies who are hoping to develop easier-to ferment non-food biofuels. There’s quite a bit of interest in cinnamoyl-CoA reductase.