Biotech Updates

Genetic Improvement of Palm Oil in Thailand

November 6, 2009

Under Thailand's 15-year Alternative Energy Plan, the government intends to promote the use of bioenergy produced from ethanol, biodiesel, biomass, and biogas. These alternative fuels can be made from raw materials that are abundant in Thailand such as cassava, sugar, rice and palm oil says Kulwarang Suwanasri of the Policy Study and Biosafety Division, National Center for Genetic Engineering nd Biotechnology (BIOTEC).

Palm oil is the major raw material for biodiesel production because of its low cost. To raise the production of palm oil to meet increasing demands, the Ministry of Agriculture has put up a development plan to achieve higher yields i.e. to raise production to 20 tons per hectare through genetic improvement of the crop and adopting better management techniques. Other raw materials available in Thailand that can potentially be used for biodiesel production include used vegetable oil and oils extracted from coconut, soy bean, ground nut, castor, sesame, sunflower and jatropha.

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