Biofuel crop safe to eat
Sorghum is grown widely in Australia and around the world for forage, grain – mostly animal feed – and biofuels. It grows well in dry areas. But, problematically, the leaves contain a toxin that releases cyanide that can reduce animal production or even kill the stock feeding on it. The problem is especially severe when the crops are 'water-stressed', and is expected to get worse with climate change.
Pacific Seeds Pty Ltd, based in Toowoomba, Queensland, is working with a team led by Associate Professor Roslyn Gleadow from the School of Biological Sciences, to develop non-genetically-modified plants that divert resources to growth instead of toxins. These fast-growing plants may also be useful as a biofuel crop.
This collaborative effort is funded through a linkage projects grant from the Australian Research Council.
The Green Chemical Futures (GCF) Institute at Monash University, due to break ground in 2013, will provide research facilities dedicated to helping industry adopt more sustainable practices.
Currently, of the eighty thousand or so industrial chemicals used commercially, more than 90 per cent are produced from fossil fuels.
In a carbon-focused economy, green chemistry will play a critical role reducing the environmental and social impacts of the chemical industry. The Green Chemical Futures Institute will also host the Victorian Centre for Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing and a Postgraduate (Doctoral) Training Centre.