Seed giant Monsanto and Mendel Biotechnology are teaming up to develop a variety of grass seeds ideal for ethanol and biodiesel production.
[St. Louis-area]-based Monsanto will lend its crop testing, breeding and seed production expertise to the BioEnergy Seeds & Feedstocks unit of Mendel, which is headquartered in Hayward, Calif.
Together, they will explore the potential of grasses as a feedstock for making cellulosic biofuels — fuel that is made from leaves, stems, stalks or other non-edible parts of plants.
Scientists in many companies and research institutions are tackling the challenges of unlocking energy from cellulosic sources to produce fuel. If they succeed, it could alleviate the demand for corn-based ethanol that is putting pressure on world stocks of food and animal feed.
Monsanto and Mendel have been involved in biotechnology projects in corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola for more than a decade.