Monday, January 11, 2010

Tobacco may have new life as a possible biofuel

As smoking bans become more and more prevalent across the country, tobacco may be finding a new life as a possible biofuel. Researchers at the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University have developed a way to modify tobacco's genes to increase their oil production, which would help spur their use as a biofuel, Wendy Koch of USA Today reports. The preliminary research has been published online in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

"Tobacco is very attractive as a biofuel because the idea is to use plants that aren't used in food production," study co-author Vyacheslav Andrianov, an assistant professor of cancer biology at Jefferson, told Koch. "Based on these data, tobacco represents an attractive and promising 'energy plant' platform, and could also serve as a model for the utilization of other high-biomass plants for biofuel production."

The researchers say they have modified plants to create 20-fold more oil in some instances. (Read more)

1 comment:

Art said...

One would hope someone talks with a tobacco farmer soon. 'Seems I remember a handful of tobacco seeds costing $100 or more -- pretty expensive biofuel, I think.