Metabolix, Inc., a bioscience company focused on developing sustainable solutions for plastics, chemicals and energy, announced that it has completed a field trial of tobacco, genetically engineered to express polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biobased polymers.
Metabolix obtained the necessary permits from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to perform an open air field trial in March of 2009 and field trial experiments were completed in early October. The trial was performed on 0.8 acres of land and provided valuable data and information relating to polymer production, with the best plants producing 3-5% PHA. This furthers development of Metabolix crop technologies for the co-production of biobased plastics in non-food bioenergy crops.
Dr. Oliver Peoples, Chief Scientific Officer of Metabolix, commented, “The experience and knowledge we have gained during our tobacco field trial is laying the groundwork for planning and permitting activities for field trials in bioengineered, non-food oilseed and biomass crops producing PHA. We believe that our crop programs offer a number of commercialization options and hold significant potential. We are excited to continue to push this technology forward and believe it will ultimately support a diverse array of bioengineered, environmentally conscious and economically viable alternatives to petroleum-based products.”
Source: Metabolix Inc., press release, 2009-10-22.