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US firm to develop biofuels using plant cell technology

Plant technology will be used to develop grasses for sustainable biofuel production

Biocorp ventures is aiming to develop stronger biofuels feedstocks
Biocorp ventures is aiming to develop stronger biofuels feedstocks

US biofuels company is set to use plant cell technology to develop new strains of algae and grasses that can be used to produce sustainable biofuels. Biocorp Ventures has signed a licence agreement with technology company Senesco, to access its plant cell technology. The two companies plan to collaborate in commercialising the application to biofuels.

Senesco’s technology is based on the discovery of a gene, eIF5A, or Factor 5A, that regulates plant cell death and survival. The resulting technology could potentially enhance plant size, yields and resistance to stress, like drought, salinity and disease.

The two companies will now evaluate the technology for the development of plants and plant products suitable for use in the production of biofuel and biofuel feedstock. This includes all species of algae and species in the genus Miscanthus, or perennial grasses.

Chester Aldridge, chairman of US Equity Holdings, said: "We are embarking on a critical evaluation phase that will tell us just how powerful Senesco's technology can be in developing enhanced plant strains that enable biofuels to be produced in an efficient and environmentally responsible way.”