SAN DIEGO - SG Biofuels, a bioenergy crop company developing and producing elite seeds of Jatropha, today announced it has established a proprietary technology for large-scale Jatropha hybrid seed production. Hybrid seeds result in greater yield, uniformity and vigor while significantly reducing handling and deployment costs for plantation developers.
The company made the announcement at JatrophaWorld 2010, an annual gathering of Jatropha producers and developers in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
'The ability to produce hybrid seeds at an industrial scale is game-changing and enables Jatropha to quickly become a major global feedstock,' said Kirk Haney, president and chief executive officer of SG Biofuels. 'Our proprietary technology allows us to cost-effectively scale large plantation projects, significantly expanding total worldwide acreages of planted Jatropha.'
Hybrid seed technology has historically been responsible for exponential increases in agricultural production and profitability. Since the introduction of hybrid corn in the 1940's, along with improved agronomic practices, the average U.S. bushel per acre has increased by more than 400 percent from 30 to approximately 140. With hybrid corn, at least 20 percent more corn is produced on 25 percent fewer acres. Large-scale hybrid seed production is considered superior to other mass propagation techniques because of lower costs and improved plant performance.
'True hybrid seeds provide a far superior planting material resulting in more consistent production and greater profitability for growers,' said Eric Mathur, vice president of molecular breeding and agronomics for SG Biofuels. 'We can now generate large quantities of elite hybrid seeds optimized to our customers' unique growing conditions worldwide.'
The patent pending technology was developed following more than three years of research and development of the world's largest and most diverse library of Jatropha genetic material, including more than 6,000 unique genotypes. Earlier this year SG Biofuels introduced JMax 100, its first elite cultivar optimized for Guatemala with projected yields 100 percent greater than existing commercial varieties, resulting in a 300 percent increase in profits.
Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub that is native to Central America. Its seeds contain high amounts of oil that is used as a high quality energy feedstock, and a variety of bio-based materials. It can be effectively grown on marginal lands that are considered undesirable for food crops.