Gene editing of sugarcane for renewable energy and bio-plastics could
sustain the industry in the face of falling global demand for sugar.
Professor Robert Henry from Queenslands Alliance for Agriculture and Food
Innovation (QAAFI) of the University of Queensland is using gene editing to
develop sugarcane to effectively produce bioiels and bioplastics. Together
with a global team of experts and as part of a project with US Joint Genome
Institute, Prof. Henry is sequencing the sugarcane genome. Full genome
sequence is expected to be decoded by 2020.
"Having sugar's genetic template will allow us to look at growing sugarcane
as a biofuel and a source of 100 percent recyclable bioplastic, making it a
substitute for petroleum in the production of countless items from cosmetics
to car parts," he said. "It's about reinventing sugarcane as a crop with a
wider range of end uses, and sugarcane is ideal for renewables because it is
fast-growing with abundant biomass," he added.