Toyota Engineers...a Shrub
07 October 2005
Toyota Motor Corp has developed a derivative of the Cherry Sage shrub that is optimized for absorbing pollutants from the air.
The new Kirsch Pink plant is reportedly 1.3 times more effective at absorbing NOx, SO2 and other air pollutants than its parent stock, the Cherry Sage. Toyota is targeting first-year sales of Kirsch Pink at 10,000 plants, priced at ¥380 (US$3.34) each.
The new plant, which flowers between May and November, also diminishes the urban heat-island effect 1.3 times more effectively than the Cherry Sage, according to the company.
The Kirsch Pink is the work of Toyota Roof Garden, established in 2001 as one of the businesses in Toyota’s Biotechnology and Afforestation portfolio.
|Toyota’s Biotech Efforts|
Toyota established its Biotechnology and Afforestation Business Department and began research and development in January 1998. In May 1999, the Toyota Biotechnology and Afforestation Laboratory was established to layout the framework for research and development in the agricultural biotechnology field and to speed up Toyota’s biotechnology business.
Toyota sees a linkage between the automotive industry and the biotechnology industries in that both are aiming to achieve a sustainable society. Toyota focused on aspects of agricultural biotech for three reasons:
An increase in world population, mainly in Asia.
An increase in the amount of food consumption per person due to a rise in the income level.
A decrease in farm and forest areas due to industrialization and urbanization, and food and water shortages due to an increase in water consumption and worsening of the global environment.
The pragmatic relationship between biotech and auto manufacturing can been seen in the use of bioplastics in new vehicles.
Toyota originally launched the Rooftop Garden business as a way to mitigate the heat-island phenomenon that is worsening with time in Japanese cities.
Ah, you beat me to it. I was going to post about it.
Interesting indeed development indeed. I'd like to have such plants, but I wonder how invasive they are. Same problem as other GMOs...
Posted by: Mikhail Capone | 07 October 2005 at 08:48 PM
Is it really GMO and not conventional breeding?
Posted by: odograph | 08 October 2005 at 12:42 PM
I should have agreed that the invasive angle is important, even if this prove to be the result of conventional breeding.
Posted by: odograph | 08 October 2005 at 12:43 PM
Anybody remember Kudzu? This miracle plant was going to keep the south from washing away, etc.
It's killed so many trees that without it, we likely wouldn't have a CO2 problem.
Posted by: Lucas | 09 October 2005 at 10:29 AM
There is a nice invasive species weblog, if you are interested in such things:
Posted by: odograph | 10 October 2005 at 07:26 AM
I doubt this plant is kudzu-like or even will become popular. Most likely will be the kind of thing you give as a present when you hand them the keys.
Posted by: Matt | 15 October 2005 at 07:44 PM
As far as I can tell they are talking about a cultivar of Salvia greggii, at least that is what the common name "cherry sage" refers to in the US. If so, it's a drought-tolerant species native to the southwestern US and Mexico. I can't find any indications of the wild version being weedy.
That said, I wouldn't want Toyota dealerships in Texas planting fields of this, I would worry it could lead to the gradual replacement of the wild plants with the Kirsch Pink. Especially if the extra uptake of NO3 and SO2 gives it a competitive advantage. But you'd have to blame part of that on humans for causing the pollution in the first place.
A different problem I have with this announcement is that they say they improved one species' ability to take up pollutants, but there's no benchmark for comparison. It's like saying "The new hybrid Lexus gets 130% better mileage than the gas-only Lexus" while failing to mention that the Prius beats them both hands down :-). But then I doubt the main goal of this endeavor is to help the environment.
Posted by: Jenn | 15 October 2005 at 10:16 PM
So often R&D of this sort appears to be purely for PR. It would be nice if the other half of the research was done. What are the long term effects? Could this species displace the "native" cherry sage? Will this strain loose it's ability to absorb NOx and SO2 over several generations or if cross polination occurs.
Posted by: jjk | 16 October 2005 at 06:14 AM
If this plant has a competitive advantage to other native plants, this could be a serious issue, and simply inventing a helper doesn't neccesarily help... though it may look good with toxin absorbtion, etc. there are many other important issues to take on... can (or should) our ecosystem or agricultural areas handle a new invasive species, this simply would be another plant grown, for what? it wouldn't really be helpful as a monoculture, and if these plants aren't edible then what? we need more biodiverse ecosystems, not one plant that would take over more of our dwindling farmland topsoil
Posted by: Lauren | 19 October 2005 at 07:17 AM
We are a National Wholesale Plant Nursery in Adelaide, South Australia and need information of growing this Kirsch Pink Cherry Sage in Australia. Can you please supply details
of Grower in Australia or can you advise us on growing this product for Australian Market.
Adelaide Plant Growers
Posted by: Adelaide Plant Growers | 19 October 2005 at 08:14 PM
It was great news, i hope this can be usefull.
Posted by: pinger | 30 October 2005 at 02:03 AM
I have bought a car from japan Toyota Estima lucida model number CXR10G , 1994 RAWA say that I have to have a letter of compliance from Toyota. will this model
be able to come into australia?
If so can you send letter to me?
do you need more information?
looking forward to your email
reg Salton.........SALE VICTORIA
Posted by: REG SALTON | 17 November 2005 at 06:30 PM
creo que debemos permitirle a toyota la aplicación de esta planta a grandes áreas y estudiar sus efectos, es mejor intentar sanar al mundo que quedarnos con los brazos abiertos esperando que empeore, total ninguna especie que el hombre no quiera sobrevive en nuestro planeta, por lo tanto, pienso que los riesgos son fáciles de vencer...
Es mas me estraño que toyota siendo una empresa mundial que produce vehiculos automotores este al nivel de los grandes genetistas, osea que nunca piensen que es lo unico que han estudiado... deben estar esperimentando hasta con micro organismos que tengan efectos similares. Entre eso y plantas prefiero plantas. Estas por muy resistentes las eliminas de la forma antigia y ya... El micro organismo ni hablar... Por favor alguien que traduzca al ingles... salu2s
Posted by: juan carlos | 18 November 2005 at 08:48 PM
I want the plant. How can I get it?
Posted by: Bonnie Bannister | 13 February 2006 at 03:02 AM
Hi I was driving the other day and this idea came to mind for a part that you would install in an electric car that would make it so you would never have to charge the car again, let me know if you are interested or if this already exist thanks. I don't know much about electric cars but I am sure this would work!!!!!!
Posted by: Serge Richard | 15 February 2006 at 04:46 AM