Bangalore, June 08, 2010 : In a major discovery, the Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar, India, has found a microbe useful in the manufacture of biodegradable plastic from aside-stream product of jatropha called ‘glycerol’, which is found during extracting biodiesel from the plant seeds. The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-led Institute is all set to scale up its commercial production.

It is considered as a revolutionary advancement that is poised to tackle the challenge of ever-increasing environmental pollution posed by non-degradable plastics. As part of the Budapest Treaty on international recognition of deposit of microorganisms for patent procedure, the identified microbe has been deposited by CSMCRI with a repository.

In another significant development, General Motors in partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE) is developing a new16-hectare plot and an existing 30-hectare jatropha farm in Bhavnagar. The joint DOE-GM funding would enable the CSMCRI to manage various activities at these farms. It is envisaged that lab-optimized strains of jatropha, produced through selective and marker-assisted breeding, would be cultivated at these farms. A complete life cycle analysis of jatropha plant would also help in evaluating the environmental impacts on this oil-yielding crop.

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