Mendel Biotechnology, a functional genomics company, has acquired the entire Miscanthus breeding program from Tinplant Biotechnik und Pflanzenvermehrung GmbH, a German breeding and plant science company.
Miscanthus is one of the leading candidates for dedicated energy crops for production of biofuels such as ethanol from lignocellulosic plant material. Mendel plans to be a leading developer of Miscanthus varieties for the cellulosic ethanol industry worldwide.
In addition to developing strains optimized for various regional conditions, a Miscanthus development program focused on biofuels could include, for example, modifying the cellulose and lignin composition of the stalk to reduce enzymatic pretreatment and increase the conversion to ethanol, or to increase yield. (As a sidenote, the adoption of hybrid genetics has tripled US corn yield—bushels per acre—since 1940.)
We are extremely pleased to have been able to bring Tinplant’s Miscanthus germplasm collection and developed varieties into our breeding program. We are equally excited about the establishment of a breeding collaboration with Tinplant, which has been the leader to date in Miscanthus variety development. This relationship will also give us a presence in Europe for further development and commercialization activities.—Neal Gutterson, Mendel’s President and CEO
The detailed terms of the acquisition were not made available. However, the transaction includes a 5-year collaboration between Mendel and Tinplant for ongoing breeding work, and establishes Tinplant as a sales agent for Mendel’s Miscanthus varieties.
Founded in 1997, Mendel Biotechnology has identified and patented the use of genes that control many aspects of plant growth and development, and is using such inventions to develop or co-develop new plant varieties. Mendel is developing new seed products for the emerging bioenergy market, focused on seeds and feedstock products for the cellulosic ethanol industry.
Tinplant Biotechnik und Pflanzenvermehrung GmbH specializes on in-vitro propagation and repository tasks of a wide range of horticultural and medicinal plants as well as trees. Tinplant has, since its inception, conducted an intensive breeding program for Miscanthus which included an extensive collection of Miscanthus genotypes from other countries.
Miscanthus Breeding and Improvement (University of Illinois)
Biofuels: Growing Energy (Ceres