Biotech Updates

Biotech Sugarcane Field Tests Start in South America

June 18, 2014

Field testing of biotech sugarcane varieties developed by Ceres, Inc. has been initiated to evaluate the performance of high sugar and drought tolerance traits of the plants. The first growing cycle will be completed in the second half of 2015, when preliminary performance observations will be available. The evaluations will be managed by a South American sugarcane developer.

"If our greenhouse results are confirmed in the field, plants with Ceres' traits could allow growers to leapfrog ahead of the incremental gains that have been made through plant breeding alone," said Dr. Roger Pennell, vice president for trait development for Ceres. "Plant breeding is particularly cumbersome in sugarcane. The plants have long growing cycles and common breeding processes are difficult to implement due to limitations in how and when sugarcane plants produce pollen and flowers."

If the biotech sugarcane varieties were proven to exhibit improved traits, then the new varieties could provide significant benefits to sugarcane production. Higher sugar yields and greater tolerance to drought and other stress conditions would not only increase output, but also lower production costs.

Read Ceres' news release at