Biotech Updates

Biotech Firm Develops Pennycress as the Next Cash Crop

February 25, 2015

A young biotech firm known as Arvegenix is working on field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense) as a viable commodity crop for farmers using advanced breeding technology. Pennycress seeds contain 36% oil, about twice the amount of oil in soybean. Pennycress oil has properties suitable for biodiesel and aviation fuel.

After oil extraction, the leftover meal can be used for livestock feed production. Thus, Arvegenix researchers are developing new varieties of the plant to make it more predictable, more consistent, and with more oil yield.

Arvegenix aims to add revenue to corn and soybean farmers by planting pennycress during winter. "If we can fit into that window when nothing else is growing, that's the definition of sustainability," Arvegenix CEO Jerry Steiner said.

Read more details on Arvegenix and TribLive websites.