Category Archives: Nature Biotechnology

Monsanto dips into algae

Monsanto acquired a stake in Sapphire Energy, a San Diego–based algae fuel company known for its prominent backers, including Bill Gates’s firm Cascade Investment, in Kirkland, Washington, and the Wellcome Trust, in London. Through the deal (figures were not disclosed), the St. Louis agriculture giant gains access to Sapphire’s expertise and technology for isolating algal traits that could be applied to agricultural genetic research. Continue reading Monsanto dips into algae

Sugar beets still in the game

Seed producers will be allowed to plant biotech sugar beets again following a September decision from the United States Department of Agriculture’s crop approval arm to allow planting under interim guidelines. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will issue limited permits to seed developers authorizing genetically modified (GM) beet planting this fall as long as the harvested beets are not allowed to flower. The permits are a legal way around a federal judge’s 13 August decision to ban all commercial farming of Monsanto’s Genuity Roundup Ready sugar beets beyond that date. Continue reading Sugar beets still in the game

Brazil bans Bayer

A judge has prohibited Bayer Cropscience from marketing Liberty Link corn, a genetically modified crop resistant to Ignite and Liberty herbicides, in Brazil. If the Leverkusen, Germany–based company fails to suspend marketing, planting, transportation and import immediately, it will be fined R$50,000 ($28,500) a day. This ruling issued in July by an environmental court in the southern state of Parana is only the second time a Brazilian court has overturned a commercial GM crop already approved by the country’s technical commission on biosafety (CTNBio), says the commission’s coordinator Jairon Nascimento. Continue reading Brazil bans Bayer

EC woos SMEs

The European Commission (EC) is inviting biotech firms to apply for research grants, if partnered with academia. For the first time, a quarter of the biotech-specific grants will require the participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The EC plans to hand out €240.3 million ($310.2 million) in direct research grants in 2011, up 26% from the €190 million ($245.3 million) this year. Continue reading EC woos SMEs