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Transformative Technologies 2010 nominees: Genetic and crossbreeding platforms for feedstock transformation

| June 7, 2010

Nominations: Genetic and breeding platforms for feedstock transformation
To vote in Transformative Technologies 2010, visit here.

Last November, Ceres announced an agreement with Choren, to optimize energy crops for thermochemical conversion to advanced low-carbon biofuels. The two-year bioenergy project is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The thermochemical process does not require enzymes or microorganisms; instead, the biomass is gasified under certain heat and pressure conditions producing synthesis gas, a carbon monoxide and hydrogen-rich gas that can be converted into high quality synthetic fuels, intermediate chemicals or electricity.
In its role, Ceres will evaluate the composition of a broad range of switchgrass and willow plants, and provide biomass samples to Choren for thermochemical processing.

Chromatin is using its technology platform to optimize sorghum from an agronomic perspective and as an energy crop by designing its compositional attributes to match the unique needs and process specifications of bioprocessors. Using a phased approach as a platform for improving sorghum over time, the company will use technologies such as compositional screening and analysis, marker assisted breeding and gene stacking to deploy proprietary feedstocks near term and ultimately to optimize sorghum for specific bioprocessors’ needs.

NCSU Duckweed project
Duckweed to produce biofuel without any wastage. A project at North Carolina State University to produce high yields of duckweed (lemon) as a biofuel feedstock.

SG Biofuels
The JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform from SG Biofuels provides research agencies and plantation developers with access to the world’s largest library of Jatropha genetic material, the sequenced genome and advanced biotech and synthetic biology tools to develop elite Jatropha cultivars specifically optimized for unique growing conditions around the world.

Synthetic Genomics
In May, a long-term monopoly on the creation of bacterial cell life — held, reportedly, by God (or the open-source community known as evolution) — was broken yesterday when a scientific team headed by Drs. Craig Venter, Hamilton Smith and Clyde Hutchison announced completion of the final step in their quest to create the first synthetic bacterial cell.

Thomas Jefferson University project
Transformed tobacco leaves. A project at Thomas Jefferson University to increase oil content in tobacco leaves, making them prospectively viable for biofuels.

TransAlgae’s goal is to domesticate algae for energy and feed markets. Our basic premise: any organism has to be domesticated to become a reliable crop. Reliability is immunity to contamination, homogeneity in production and stable yields.  The fastest way of domestication known to the world today is by genetic engineering. TransAlgae’s differentiated approach is that it has created a unique toolbox for genetic transformations in algae. This toolbox will be primarily used to domesticate algae to adapt it as a crop for commodity products, such as biofuels and feed.

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