Acreage of genetically modified (GMO) cane resistant to stem borer Diatraea saccharalis is expected to double this year as the new season commences, according to Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira (CTC), reported Reuters.
The United States Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded on 7th August that it is safe to consume raw and refined sugar produced from Brazil’s first genetically-modified sugarcane variety, called CTC20BT.
The world’s first variety of genetically modified (GM) sugarcane has been planted on 400 hectares (988 acres) throughout the cane growing regions in Brazil, according to the research firm behind the project.
Brazilian biosecurity agency CTNBio approved on 8th June commercial use of genetically modified sugarcane, according to a statement from CTC Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira SA, which developed the technology.
A multi-institutional team led by the University of Illinois have proven sugarcane can be genetically engineered to produce oil in its leaves and stems for biodiesel production.
The company plans to test for crop and sugar yield and stress tolerance (drought in particular) traits in several commercial sugarcane cultivars adapted to Brazil’s major production areas. The field evaluations are expected to begin by June this year.
Growers rapidly adopted GMO Roundup Ready sugar beet developed by Monsanto when seeds became widely available in 2008 because of its convenience and the technology allowed effective control of weeds using glyphosate. Growers typically use two applications of glyphosate and have excellent weed control, whereas three to four applications of conventional herbicides still required cultivation and hand weeding for acceptable levels of weed control in conventional sugar beet.