Monsanto, Mendel partner on cellulosic biofuels research

By Bryan Sims | April 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted May 1, 2008 at 5:26 p.m. CST

Monsanto Co. and Mendel Biotechnology Inc. have partnered in a collaborative agreement to enhance the development of Mendel's BioEnergy Seeds & Feedstocks business. Monsanto is an industry leader in the testing, breeding and development of crops for production of cellulosic biofuels.

Since being formed in 1997, Mendel has had an ongoing business relationship with Monsanto. The two companies have worked together on the development of biotechnology traits of corn, soy, cotton and canola. In this specific collaboration, the two companies will apply Monsanto's crop testing, breeding and seed production expertise to perennial grass seed varieties Mendel is developing for use in biofuels and other commercial applications, according to Monsanto spokeswoman Sara Duncan.

"It's an important step forward for Monsanto in the biofuels arena because it will increase the value of our current investment in Mendel and also bolster our knowledge in biomass grasses and the strengths and potential applicability of those for the feed and fuel markets," Duncan said. "It's an opportunity for us to learn about this while simultaneously offering our expertise as a seed company to Mendel."

In October, Monsanto announced it's increased investment in Mendel, in part to support the growth of Mendel's new BioEnergy Seeds & Feedstocks business, "so this is kind of a bill on top of that," Duncan said.

Hayward, Calif.-based Mendel has been a pioneer in the application of functional genomics to the study of plant genes and for the production of dedicated energy crops critical for cellulosic biofuels. The company has identified and patented the use of genes that control many aspects of plant growth and development, using such inventions to develop or co-develop new plant varieties with improved productivity and quality.

To learn more about Monsanto, visit www.monsanto.com/default.asp. For more information about Mendel Biotechnology, visit www.mendelbio.com/.