Novel Australian biological resources for biofuel production
Henry, RJ & Williams, SD 2008, ‘Novel Australian biological resources for biofuel production’, paper presented to 2008 Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 10-12 September.
A major new research initiative is proposed to screen Australian flora (10%) of species globally for new species and traits for biofuels. Advances in biotechnology have provided genomics tools that will allow the screening of biodiversity for new biofuel genetic resources. The Australian plant DNA bank is collecting material for screening from the regions controlled by the 9 governments in Australia (state, territory and federal). Australia species that are being targeted for accelerated domestication as new crop species include grasses and trees (eg Eucalypts). Priority is being given to species that can be produced with minimal competition with food crops for resources (land and water). Analysis of the molecular changes associated with plant domestication has identified the key traits that need to be improved to allow commercial production. New technology for modification of these traits is being developed and applied widely. A Biofuels Cooperative Research Centre is being proposed to coordinate the research and commercial development of these opportunities in Australia and internationally.