SGB makes breakthrough with new hybrid jatropha

SGB, an agricultural biotechnology and seed company, has successfully created a hybrid jatropha which has both high yield and rapid time to maturity.

In conjunction with these results, the company has closed an $11 million (€8.5 million) Series C financing to drive commercial rollout.

With its latest generation of jatropha hybrids, SGB has reduced the time to maturity from five years to one to two years. Based on 100 acres of pre-commercial trials of its top 10 hybrids, SGB's best performing hybrid to date eclipsed an equivalent of 300 gallons of oil per acre in year one with a corresponding protein production of 0.6 tonnes, surpassing protein yield of soyabean by more than 30%. Total yield also includes 20 tonnes of green biomass per acre.

The $11 million financing is led by SGB's current investors including Thomas McNerney & Partners, Finistere Ventures and Flint Hills Resources.

"Our scientific and breeding teams have cracked the code and the technology is now ready for full-scale commercial deployment of jatropha,' says Arama Kukutai, executive chairman of SGB and MD of Finistere Ventures. 'This financing underscores that jatropha has risen from the ashes and will be a major plantation crop and viable alternative to palm and soyabean as a sustainable source of oil and protein.'

The funding will be used to drive commercial partnerships and project deployments focused on Central America, India and southeast Asia, and to further advance genetic improvement, and agronomic best practices to maximise the full potential of the crop.

SGB's hybrids have been developed following six years of research and close to $40 million of investment, drawing from a diverse germplasm library including more than 12,000 unique genotypes.

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