Bayer to develop GMO sugarcane for expanding Brazilian green chemistry market
Monheim/Sao Paulo – German Bayer CropScience has entered a research collaboration with the Brazilian Center for Sugarcane Technology (CTC, www.ctc.com.br) aimed at developing sugarcane varieties with higher sugar content. The move targets Brazil‘s future markets for bioethanol and its derivatives biothylene and biopropylene that are expected to expand upon further improvement of the production efficiency of ethanol from renewable resources. Currently two chemical companies, Braskem and Dow Chemicals are preparing the start of commercial bioethylene production in Brazil at a scale of 500,000 tonnes per year as ethylene production with sugar as feed is proving more cost-effective than the petrochemical process. Early results from the partners suggest that sugar yields could be improved by 30 or 40% if Bayer CropScience’s technologies for introgression into CTC´s proprietary elite germplasm are used. Products resulting from this cooperation are expected to be ready for submission for regulatory approval by 2015. The research and development activities of Bayer CropScience in sugarcane are currently focused on Brazil, where approx 40% of global production occurs. "Sugarcane is the most productive crop for economically viable renewable energy with the best CO2 balance," commented Joachim Schneider, Head of the BioScience unit at Bayer CropScience.