The GM tree plantations bred to satisfy the world's energy needs

From Global development | The Guardian Thu Nov 15 2012, 06:58:31

Israeli biotech firm says its modified eucalyptus trees can displace the fossil fuel industry

It's a timber company's dream but a horrific industrial vision for others: massive plantations of densely planted GM eucalyptus trees stretching across Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and China, engineered to grow 40% faster for use as paper, as pellets for power stations and as fuel for cars.

The prospect is close, says Stanley Hirsch, chief executive of the Israeli biotech company FuturaGene. All that is missing, he says, are permissions from governments for the trees to be grown commercially, and backing from conservation groups and certification bodies.

FuturaGene has spent 11 years trialling thousands of GM eucalyptus and poplar trees on 100-hectare plots in Israel, China and outside São Paulo in Brazil, and is now at the last stages of the Brazilian regulatory process for commercial planting. Thanks to a gene taken from the common, fast-growing Arabidopsis weed, the company has found a way to alter the structure of plant cell walls to stimulate the natural growth process. The company says its modified eucalyptus trees can grow 5 metres (16ft) a year, with 20%-30% more mass than a normal eucalyptus. In just five and a half years they are 27 metres high.

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse

You might also be interested in the following news stories:

Kenya:   Work Starts on 700km-Long Somalia Border Wall (news)
Al Jazeera
29 November 2015

Kenya has started construction on a 700km-long wall along its porous border with Somalia, in an attempt to shield itself from the armed group al-Shabab. [read more]

Nigeria:   State to Prosecute TB Joshua, Others Over Deadly Church Collapse (news)
Premium Times
29 November 2015

The trustees of ‎Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) will on Monday (November 30, 2015) be arraigned before a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja over the collapse of a six-story building in the ... [read more]

South Africa:   Extremely Hot Conditions Expected (news)
30 November 2015

The South African Weather Service has issued a warning as extremely high temperatures are expected on Monday. [read more]

blogAfrica is's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!

Today's Featured News
Mozambique Ruling Party Faces Tough Contest

Renamo supporters: Ruling Frelimo faces a stern challenge at Wednesday's polls from...

Surge in Central African Republic Violence

African Union troops in Bangui (file photo): The UN has expressed alarm...

Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana Get Crucial Wins

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana (file photo): The Super Eagles have boosted their...