Engineering better biofuels: The prospects of biotechnology in SSA


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Engineering better biofuels: The prospects of biotechnology in SSA

  1. 1. Engineering better biofuels:The prospects ofbiotechnology in SSAIvar VirginStockholm EnvironmentInstitute(SEI)
  2. 2. Could biotechnology contribute to solvingproductivity and yield stability in developingcountries?
  3. 3. Molecular Breeding- A Palette ofTechnologies Revolutionizing Breeding...Molecular diagnostics to provide, accurate and quicker identification of plantspathogens.Tissue culture to enable mass propagation of improved and disease-freeplanting materialMolecular breeding and marker assisted selection to identify and evaluatedesirable traits in breeding programmesGene technology/genetic modifications to introduce of one or more genes,often across species barriers into plants,, conferring potentially useful traits intocrop plantsFunctional genomics/structural genomics: molecular characterisation of genesand the connection of traits with their respective genes, increasing opportunitiesto target interventions in breeding
  4. 4. Gene technology a toolbox for more efficientand more precise breeding and tailor madebioresource production systems......and the development just begun!
  5. 5. USD/genome2001 500 MUSD2007 1 MUSD2008 100 000 USD2012 1000 USD2020 1000 USDThe bioscience revolution moves faster and faster…. It took 300 researchers 10 years to sequencethe human genome, which today would take 1researcher 1 week!!!!
  6. 6. What is in the pipeline?Soon (2-5 years) GM crops with:....•Improved nutrional composition(e.g Golden rice• Altered oil compositions•More effecient nutrient uptake•Improved drought tolerance...Further away (10-20 years):....•Perennial crops.•More efficient phototosynthesis•Unlocking the genetic switch.......More resource efficient crops
  7. 7. Plants are chemicalfactories
  8. 8. Moving the chemical factoryto the fields........2010 2030 ?
  9. 9. Production of non food/feedagricultural products increasing!• Development of agroindustrial production systemsproducing:- biofuels, fibres, starch products,-“green” chemicals”, biodegradable plastics, oils andlubricants-detergents, enzymes, cosmetics, fragrances andflavours, medicinal products• In the US, massive investments in new biofuel cropproduction systems(switchgrass, mischantus...manmade prairie)
  10. 10. Production of diesel andjetfuel directly in the plant
  11. 11. To radically changesthe metabolism of cellsrequires changing expression of genes encodingfor transkriptionsfactorsTranskriptionsfactors =DirectorGenes coding for specific enzymes
  12. 12. New types of oil producing cropsIdentifying the genetic switch between oil,starch, proteins opens the possibility to developnew type of highly productive oil cropsSunlight+ CO2 + H20 =
  13. 13. oilsWheat CornFuture oil crops through gene technologySugar beats
  14. 14. …?The prospect ofbiotechnologysub-Saharan Africa
  15. 15. The prospects of biotechnology in SSA• Using local ”African” crops highly adopted toagroecological conditions which can givedecent yields under rainfed conditions withlimited input.....
  16. 16. Some of the prospects...•Sweet sorghum, cassava, sweet potato ...: Usingbiosciences/genetic engineering to increase sugar contentsand disease resitance...improving genetic base for breeding•New programmes for finding new African biofuel crops
  17. 17. Collaboration platforms helps!Regional and internationalcollaboration, public-privatepartnerships and multidisciplinaryinnovation platforms....... ensuringthat the new biosciences benefit Smallholder farmers in Africa.
  18. 18. The BIO-EARN Programme 1998-2010Building Bioscience Platforms inKenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania
  19. 19. The Bio-Innovate Programcontributions to the Eastern AfricaBio-economy
  20. 20. Thank you for listening!!For more information