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SG Biofuels announces Jatropha research initiative

Monday, April 27, 2009

A new research center seeks to improve the Jatropha plant for biofuel.
A new research center seeks to improve the Jatropha plant for biofuel.

San Diego-based SG Biofuels announced the opening of its Jatropha Genetic Resource Center (GRC) to accelerate large-scale production of Jatropha as a low-cost, sustainable source of feedstock for biofuel.
GRC possesses the largest, most genetically diverse library of Jatropha genetic material in the world, the company said. The company hopes the GRC will enable it to drive genetic improvements to enhance yield, improve agronomic practices and broaden the effective growing range of the subtropical, shrubby crop.

Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub that is native to Central America. Its 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.

The company said the crop requires no land use changes and can effectively be grown on abandoned lands that are unsuitable for other crops. The company made no mention of how the crop is harvested and what kind of agricultural equipment is required.

Research efforts include hybrids among genetically distinct lines to address such issues as yield, cold tolerance and resistance to insect pests.

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