15 April 2015. Source: Pulp & Paper Canada
Brazil has become the first jurisdiction worldwide to permit the commercial use of FuturaGene’s genetically engineered eucalyptus. The Brazilian National Technical Commission on Biosafety (CTNBio) approved the commercial use of the yield-enhanced eucalyptus developed by FuturaGene. According to the company, field experiments conducted since 2006 at various locations in Brazil have demonstrated an approximate 20% increase in yield compared to its equivalent conventional variety.
The company says this approval represents the most significant productivity milestone for the renewable plantation forest industry since the adoption of clonal technology in the early 1990s. This approval enables the production of more fiber using less resources.
An impact study produced last year by Pöyry Silviconsult forecasts the potential gains of applying the genetically engineered eucalyptus technology to the entire Brazilian eucalyptus plantation area by the year 2050. It concludes that this variety of eucalyptus will be ready to harvest in 5.5 years compared with the seven-year harvest of conventional eucalyptus on Brazilian forestry plantations. Consequently, it will require 13% fewer hectares to meet the same wood demand as existing crops.
FuturaGene states that its yield-enhanced eucalyptus has been under development since 2001 and has undergone extensive biosafety assessment prior to submission for commercial approval. According to Dr. Stanley Hirsch, FuturaGene CEO, the company has several additional products at different stages of development in its pipeline.