Biotech Updates

Zero-Waste Plants Being Developed

July 17, 2019

Large proportions of crops are discarded during or after harvest, including plant parts containing proteins, fats, and fiber. Professor Luisa Trindade, professor at the Department of Plant Sciences at Wageningen University and Research (WUR) said this has to change. "The world needs plants that can be used fully, to the last molecule," she said.

Trindade wants to increase the value of crop residues and is currently working on fiber crops, including miscanthus. Her research group has developed eight potential new hybrid varieties of miscanthus which have been planted in 10 different locations in Europe. Miscanthus has interesting properties such as high biomass yields and high CO2 capture which promotes soil quality.

Trindade emphasized her goal as a breeder is to be able to use all of the plant. However, she cites the complex tomato plant with different organs with great differences in their composition. "In the future, we will develop tomato varieties where the total biomass will be used for food and non-food purposes, and who knows we will develop varieties with edible stems and leaves."

For more details, read the news article in WUR News.