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Institution - Electronic forum on biotechnology in food and agriculture

Conference 15 of the FAO Biotechnology Forum considers the potential role that agricultural biotechnologies can play for production of bioenergy in developing countries, with a major focus on liquid biofuels.


The e-mail conference takes place from 10 November to 7 December 2008 and is being organised in collaboration with the FAO Working Group on Bioenergy.


A Background Document was prepared before the conference and its aim is to provide some brief background to the subject as well as to mention the issues to be considered in the conference. As usual, a document will be prepared after the e-mail conference is finished to summarise the main issues that were discussed.


The conference covers biotechnology applications for first-generation and second-generation biofuels and, to a lesser degree, for biogas production and for biodiesel production from microalgae. It therefore encompasses the use of biotechnology tools to produce biomass for bioenergy purposes as well as to convert biomass to biofuel. To discuss and exchange experiences on this subject, we invite you to join the conference. This will be the 15th conference hosted by the Forum since it was launched in 2000. The conference, as usual, is open to everyone, is free and will be moderated.


As part of the build up to the conference, an FAO seminar on the same subject was held in Rome on 12 October 2007. One of the invited papers, by S. Zarrilli, covered issues such as the current global situation regarding biofuels; the potential impacts of genetic modification; trade implications; biofuels certification; and product differentiation under the World Trade Organization. Another invited paper by G.A. Tuskan focused on technical issues and options for the use of genomics for production of lignocellulosic biomass and its conversion to biofuel. A third invited paper, by E.P.S. Bon and M.A. Ferrara, described some of the biochemical aspects behind breakdown of lignocellulosic biomass to bioethanol; the importance of cellulases; as well as giving some of the history of Brazilian research in this area.


Visit the Seminar website to view the papers and presentations.



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