Genetically modified tobacco plants are viable as raw material for producing biofuels

Tobacco plants
Tobacco plants

A Spanish researcher has demonstrated, for the first time, the viability of using specific tobacco proteins (known as thioredoxins) as biotechnological tools in plants.

In her PhD thesis Ruth Sanz-Barrio, an agricultural engineer of the NUP/UPNA-Public University of Navarre and researcher at the Institute of Biotechnology (mixed centre of the CSIC-Spanish National Research Council, Public University of Navarre and the Government of Navarre), has managed to increase the amount of starch produced in the tobacco leaves by 700% and fermentable sugars by 500%. “We believe that these genetically modified plants” – she explained – “could be a good alternative to food crops for producing biofuels, and could provide an outlet for the tobacco-producing areas in our country that see their future in jeopardy owing to the discontinuing of European grants for this crop.”

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