Coimbatore (PTI): City based Sugarcane Breeding Institute has developed sugarcane transgenics incorporating gene constructs contributing to pest resistance but it could take some years to come out with a GM sugarcane variety, a top SBI official said here today.
Molecular market technologies offered more precision to sugarcane breeding while transgenic technology added an entirely new dimension to varietal development programs.
But it would take several years to develop a BT variety of sugarcane, Dr N Vijayan Nair, told reporters on the sidelines of the 'institute Industry National Interactive Workshop."
"The trials are going on and it may take several years to release for commercial purpose,+ Nair said. Earlier addressing the workshop,he said SBI has developed Class I and Class II energy canes to suit cogeneration, since cogeneration potential in India was estimated at 5,500 MW, while installed capacity was about 2,500 MW. Considerable research was underway worldwide on second generation ethanol from biomass through physical, chemical and enzymatic approaches.
A breakthrough is expected in which case bagasse becomes a high value byproduct and the high fibre sugarcanes assume greater importance, he said. Ethanol production is barely adequate to meet the 10 per cent blending and demand likely to go up in the years to come, Nair said adding that the industry would then have to choose between ethanol and sugar, considering the returns. N Mahalingam, Chairman, Shakti Sugars Ltd, said despite several high-level government sponsored delegations visiting Brazil to study the efficacy of ethanol as fuel for automobiles,serious efforts seem wanting to augment production for stepping up production of sugar and ethanol and contain the outflow of precious resources on petroleum imports.
Compared to Brazil,which has taken serious efforts to step up production 9.12 times to 620 million tonnes in 2011 from 68 million tonnes in 1975, India, with a production of 140.604 million tonnes in 1975 could increase it only by 2.43 times to 342.362 million tonens during 2010-11, Mahalingam said.
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