Transgenic sugarcane with improved characteristics for industrial applications

Sugarcane is an important crop in (sub) tropical agriculture across many developing countries and also in emerging economies such as Brazil. A vast global market for sugarcane derivatives keeps the industry booming. Sugar is prevalent in the modern diet and increasingly a source of biofuels and bioplastics. Its dual role as food and industrial feedstock allows its development as cash crop generating additional sources of income for (rural) farming communities. This approach can overcome seesaw effects and price volatility of sugarcane products that now negatively affect the sugarcane growers.

To serve as feedstock for second-generation bio-ethanol, it will be important to develop sugarcane varieties amenable for specific industrial applications, namely sugarcane with modified lignin. The Brazilian company Petrobras has requested assistance for the development of sugarcane varieties that are tailored to this specific industrial use. The products thus generated would enhance resource use efficiency of second-generation bio-ethanol from sugarcane.Genetic engineering can contribute to this strategy, but a reproducible effective protocol for transformation in sugarcane requires to be established. This project deals with the improvement of sugarcane genetic engineering under the lead of the Laboratory for Applied in vitro Plant Biotechnology headed by Prof. Stefaan Werbrouck (Ghent University, Belgium).

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Towards a Latin America and Caribbean Knowledge Based Bio-Economy in partnership with Europe


The emerging bio-economy is increasingly viewed as a workable alternative to move today’s economies in the direction of more sustainable natural resource use and economic growth in different parts of the world.

The ALCUE-KBBE project is creating a platform between relevant stakeholders in Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union to design and implement enabling R&D agenda’s and policy instruments for the development and consolidation of the bio-economy in both regions.


ALCUE-KBBE activities include:

  •     A comprehensive benchmarking of EU, LAC + other bio-economy experiences
  •     Developing R&D scenarios and roadmaps for policy and institutional development
  •     Developing joint R&D agendas 


IPBO plays an active role in all of the above mentioned activities. In addition, IPBO leads the establishment of the ALCUE-KBBE Cooperation Platform that will form the basis for a LAC-EU cooperation strategy.


Project partners: CIRAD, France (consortium  coordinator); CEO, Argentina; IPBO, UGent, Belgium; IBET, Portugal; CINVESTAV, Mexico; WUR, The Netherlands; CIAT, Cali, Colombia; MINCYT, Argentina; EMBRAPA, Brazil; JULICH, Germany; PUJ, Colombia; and IICA, Uruguay. 


ALCUE-KBBE is a Coordination and Support Action supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme for RTD food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnologies (2011-2013).


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Regional potential assessment of novel bio energy crops in fifteen ECOWAS countries

In 2011, IIBN, UNIDO, Quinvita, a global industrial crop technology and knowledge provider for Jatropha and ECREEE (ECOWAS) Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency joined forces to perform a major strategic study on the potential for sustainable production of novel bio‐energy crops in the ECOWAS region.


The project started based on the need to make an overall assessment of novel potential bio-energy crops that could be grown and peocessed in the 15 ECOWAS countries.

This strategic study aimed to:

  • Assess the potential for increased food production and utilization of non‐food/feed residue/waste for bio‐energy production from selected food crops;
  • Identify ‘go’ and ‘no‐go’ regions for 5‐8 novel bio‐energy crops within the 15 ECOWAS countries, taking into account available land for agriculture, forestry and other environmental impacts;
  • Identify 3 potential pilot projects for specific regions in ECOWAS countries with a potential for sustainable production of 10,00‐15,000 hectares of a specific bio‐energy crop, and
  • Provide a sustainability assessment of potential projects taking into consideration social, economic and environmental aspects of the bio‐energy crops and their integration with food production, social and environmental factors.