Australia’s CSIRO deal with Amfora to stimulate new food oils

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 26th April 2017

The CSIRO has discovered how to stimulate higher-levels of oil production in stems and leaves, parts of plants which normally do not produce much oil.

It is a discovery which could one day lead to more plant-based oil for human consumption.

US-based company, Amforma, and the CSIRO have signed an agreement this month that aims to advance the develop of the CSIRO’s technology and to bring it to a point where it can be used to produce energy-rich feed for livestock.

Until now, most plant-based oils come from the oil-rich seeds and fruits of certain plants like canola, soybean, sunflower and coconut.

The scientists have however now figured out how to get just as much oil out of the stem and leaves of some of these plants.

Researcher, Dr Allan Green, said if the CSIRO’s technology were applied to existing oil crops it could potentially treble oil productivity and greatly expand renewable oil production worldwide.

“We are using solar energy captured by the plant to convert the leaf’s starch reserves into more energy-dense oil molecules, which significantly increases the energy value of the vegetative tissue where the oil accumulates,” Dr Green said.

Chief Executive Officer of the CSIRO, Dr Larry Marshall, said the work demonstrates the capacity of Australian researchers to develop innovative solutions for global industries.

“It is estimated that in 20 years’ time we will need 50 per cent more plant-based oils just to meet the nutritional needs of a global population, and there is also a growing demand for renewable biofuels,” Dr Marshall said.


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