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Biofuel plant species and the contribution of genetic improvement

Author(s): Luiz Antônio dos Santos Dias

Journal: Crop Breeding and Applied Biotechnology
ISSN 1518-7853

Volume: 11;
Issue: Special;
Start page: 16;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: bioethanol | biodiesel | agroenergy | energy and food security | climate changes

The paper analyses the puzzle of the food-energy-environmental security interaction, to which biofuels are part of thesolution. It presents and discusses the contribution of genetic improvement to biofuels, with regard to the production of rawmaterials (oil and ethanol-producing plant species) and designs perspectives, opportunities, risks and challenges, with a specialfocus on the Brazilian scene. Bioethanol is a consolidated biofuel owing largely to the sugarcane breeding programs. Theseprograms released 111 sugarcane cultivars and were responsible for a 20.8 % gain in productivity of bioethanol (in m3 ha-1)between 2000 and 2009. The program of Brazilian biodiesel production, initiated in 2005, had an annual growth rate of 10 % andthe country is already the world’s fourth largest producer. However, the contribution of breeding to biodiesel production is stillmodest, due to the lack of specific improvement programs for oil.

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