BP, agrofuels, revolving doors and genetic engineering (9/8/2007)

Comment from Helena Paul, co-author of The Hungry Corporations:
Followers of the GM saga are used to stories of revolving doors, where key figures move backwards and forwards between government and industry. Here we have one from the emerging area of biofuels, which some of us prefer to call agrofuels when they are crops grown as monocultures on an industrial scale.

These are being promoted in the UK as the great hope to address climate change without lifestyle change. However, we cannot produce enough for our needs, so most will have to be imported from the global south. Currently, the main crops include oil palm, soya, oilseed rape and jatropha for biodiesel, with sugarcane and maize for ethanol.

GM biotechnology is intimately intertwined with the development of agrofuels.

On Monday 6th August, BBC Radio 4's You and Yours did a feature on GM and biofuels which can be found for the next few days at:

Contributors were:
*Colin Merritt, Monsanto and director of North East Biofuels
*Ian Shield, Agronomist at Rothamsted Research
*Nick Vandervell, UK Petroleum Industry Association
*Bernie Bulkin, Government adviser on sustainable development

Although readers will be interested to see Monsanto's Colin Merritt now associated with agrofuels, it is the last name in the list that is a particular focus here - that of Bernie Bulkin, former chief scientist at BP who now chairs the SDC Steering Group on Climate Change

On the Purdue University College of Science Alumni and Friends site, Bernie Bulkin's biography notes that he was born in a New Jersey farmhouse and goes on to say:

"He joined Standard Oil in 1985, and following its acquisition by BP moved to London, where he held positions of increasing responsibility including Director, Manufacturing and Supply, Chief Technology Officer BP Oil, Vice President Environmental Affairs, and Chief Scientist. He retired from BP at the end of 2003, and was elected as a Fellow of New Hall, University of Cambridge in 2004."

We should not forget that "New Labour" consulted closely with BP and other large corporations, prior to its election to government in 1997. Old friends have not been forgotten and Bernie now advises the government on sustainable development and chairs the SDC Steering Group on Climate Change, Energy and Transport http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/pages/bulkin.html. The SDC describes itself as "Government's independent watchdog on sustainable development"

In spite of the title of the You and Yours piece, none of the contributors seemed keen to talk about genetic engineering and biofuels. However, a little investigation shows that both Monsanto and BP are very interested indeed. BP recently announced (February 2007) the founding of the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) at the University of California Berkeley for research into agrofuels with an investment of $500 million US dollars over the next ten years. A major part of the research will involve genetic engineering and "synthetic biology".

Bernie Bulkin has other interests too. He is the chair of Chemrec AB (Sweden). This company describes itself as a "leading developer of black liquor gasification technology" http://www.chemrec.se/2005%20Booster%20broschure.pdf. This means it is working on the waste (black liquor) from the production of paper to transform it into transportation fuel. Bernie is a venture partner with VantagePoint which recently secured investment from Volvo for Chemrec AB to develop their technology (http://www.nykomb.se/pdf/Chemrec_press_release1.pdf).

The pulp and paper industry is expanding infrastructure and plantations massively, for example throughout South America. Many of the companies originate from Northern Europe (Norway, Sweden and Finland). Obviously if the industry can find a commercial outlet for its waste product beyond powering its own facilities this is likely to stimulate further growth - and conversion of yet more land to eucalyptus and other plantations for pulp, paper and now fuel. See: http://www.wrm.org.uy/

Genetic engineering is likely to play a key role here too. Research is being carried out to modify trees such as eucalyptus and poplar so that they will break down more easily for the pulp and paper and the emerging biofuel industries. Genetically engineered micro-organisms and enzymes that could speed up industrial processing are also being developed. The Norwegian/Brazilian company Aracruz Cellulose, believes that genetic engineering of forest species "can bring benefits to society through sustainable development".

For more details on the role of genetic engineering and synthetic biology in agrofuels, including further information on the role of Monsanto, BP and other players such as Craig Venter, see below an extract from: Agrofuels - towards a reality check in nine key areas. The rest of the report can be found at: www.econexus.info Download at http://www.econexus.info/pdf/Agrofuels.pdf

We have already seen how biotechnology concentrates power in the hands of a few companies. As this paper notes, agrofuels "bring together powerful players from different sectors of the oil industry, agribusiness and biotechnology, creating a danger that corporate power will be further concentrated across the agriculture and energy sectors."


Genetic engineering, synthetic biology and agrofuels

Two chapters from the recent report (July 2007)

Agrofuels: towards a reality check in nine key areas

1. Are agrofuels a promotional instrument for GM crops and what biosafety risks do they pose?

New opportunities for old GM crops

The genetic engineering/biotechnology industry is interested in agrofuels that could allow access to new markets with the potential for rapid and sustained growth. The industry is researching whether GM varieties of crops such as maize, soya and oilseed rape, all of which have encountered strong resistance to their use as food and (to a lesser extent) as animal feed, could find greater acceptance as feedstock for agrofuels. The industry has been active in contributing to so-called 'second generation' agrofuels and the use of synthetic biology (see below).

Research and development for GM crops is extremely expensive and has faced consumer rejection and opposition. Questions over whether the genetic engineering industry can develop promised traits such as drought and salt tolerance in crops have yet to be answered. Agrofuels could also be a means to achieve further public subsidies for this controversial industry.

Impacts on agriculture and biodiversity

Agrofuel crops will be grown and traded as commodities in a highly competitive global market, for example, in large scale monoculture systems as are most GM crops at present. Many of these GM crops are grown for animal feed in Argentina and other Latin American countries, and mainly exported to Europe and China.1 The experience of these agricultural systems is also valid for the large-scale monoculture production of GM crops for agrofuels. Cultivation could build on the current feed-crop cultivation, and thereby add to existing problems. Herbicide tolerant crops like Roundup Ready soya, which facilitate large-scale production with fewer workers, have been key in the expansion of soya monocultures. The use of herbicides and direct drilling means that the soil does not need turning for weed control, as in most conventional production systems. Such 'no tillage' systems have been promoted as carbon sinks under the Kyoto Protocol. The economic success of these crops depends on large-scale spraying of agrochemicals from ground-based trucks and the air.

This has led to serious impacts on local populations who lose crops and livestock and who develop skin, respiratory, digestive ailments and cancers from contamination. Mass spraying of the herbicide Roundup leads to the emergence of herbicide tolerant weeds that require the use of other agrotoxins. The use of these chemicals affects local flora and fauna, causing negative impacts on biodiversity. The corporations that control the crops and inputs for animal feed will also benefit from agrofuel expansion. All GM crops are patented. These factors promote greater corporate concentration and control of agriculture.

Links between animal feed and agrofuels

GM maize/corn, soya and rapeseed are produced for animal feed and can yield agrofuels from the same biomass. For example, maize is being processed in the US to produce ethanol with the residue being used as animal feed. The corporations involved in GM biotechnology are working to further modify maize especially for this purpose. Renessen, a collaboration between Cargill and Monsanto, is building installations to treat the residue of maize after ethanol production and turn it into animal feed.2 In 2008 Monsanto plans to commercialise a genetically engineered maize variety, Mavera, with a high starch content for ethanol production, and high lysine for animal feed.3 Grain trading companies and fossil oil companies are also working together to exploit this new opportunity. For example, the agribusiness firm Bunge is working with the oil company Repsol and Acciona in Spain. This joint venture has plans to build factories to refine soya oil imported from Argentina to mix with fossil fuel.

Other corporations are working on crops that will contain enzymes to assist in the process of decomposition, with the aim of simplifying the production of ethanol. Syngenta has applied in Europe and South Africa to import Event 3272, a maize which expresses a thermostable alpha- amylase enzyme (AMY797E) which breaks starch into simpler molecules of carbohydrate to assist rapid breakdown.4 It also contains a marker gene derived from E coli.

The applications in the EU and South Africa signal that this maize is expected to contaminate both feed and food. It has been notified in the USA and China, but towards the end of March 2007, the application was refused in South Africa. Promoting an additional market for these GM crops for energy purposes will create a synergy between the two markets (animal feed and energy), so that animal feed will increasingly become a by-product of agrofuel production, thus promoting monocultures and factory farming at the expense of sustainable and biodiverse production systems and biodiversity itself. This marriage of factory farming and fuel production will make it still more difficult for countries to extricate themselves from industrial farming.

Targeted Growth is a company that focuses on increasing the yield of plants used for agrofuels. It is currently working with canola, maize and soya and began conducting field trials in 2006. It has recently (February 2007) acquired patent number WO2007016319 5 and notes in the description: "There is a need in the art for improved methods of modifying characteristics of certain commercially valuabile [sic] crops, including for example, but not limitation, increasing crop yields, increasing seed size, increasing the rate of germination, increasing root mass, and the like. The present invention as described herein meets these and other needs." In order to achieve these different aims, Targeted Growth focused on intervening in the processes that, "regulate the transitions between different phases of the cell cycle.'' They speak of postponing the cessation of cell division, for instance, so as to increase the size of plant seeds. Investors include a number of companies interested in non-fossil energy.6 Targeted Growth is also collaborating with the Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira in Brazil which works on producing new varieties of sugar cane.7 "However, these transgenic crops do come with a yield penalty. To date, no known transgenic crop is commercially available that has an increase in seed size or an increase in crop yield." In September 2005 Targeted Growth announced a licensing agreement with Monsanto regarding use of its technology for what it calls the Yield Enhancement Gene.8


1) April 2005: Report "Argentina: A Case Study on the Impact of Genetically Engineered Soya - How producing RR soya is destroying the food security and sovereignty of Argentina." EcoNexus (UK) and Grupo de Reflexion Rural (Argentina). Benbrook Ch. (2005): Rust, resistance, run down soil, and rising costs - Problems facing soybean producers in Argentina. Ag BioTech InfoNet, Technical Paper Number 8. http://www. greenpeace.org/raw/content/belgium/nl/press/reports/rust-resistance-run-down-soi.pdf

2) Renessen - a joint venture of Monsanto and Cargill- is opening a plant to convert residue from ethanol production to animal feed: Monsanto says new maize could produce bumper crops, Bloomberg News, USA, by Jack Kaskey, 4 Oct 2006

3) Monsanto Annual Report 2006, p.10

4) Application for import and use of genetically modified Event 3272 maize under Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003

5) http://v3.espacenet.com/textclam? DB=EPODOC&IDX=WO2007016319&F=0&QPN=WO2007016319

6) Red Herring Friday, February 09, 2007, Targeted Growth Gets $22.3MCompany says genetically modified crops for biofuels could alleviate food vs. fuel challenge; others are opposed to such modification.http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21195&hed=Targeted+Growth+ Gets+%2422

7) http://www.ctcanavieira.com.br/var2g/index.htm

8) www.targetedgrowth.com/PressReleases/Monsanto.pdf

9) GM Freeze Report: GM Contamination imports of food and feed at risk. Measures needed to reduce the threat http://www.gmfreeze.org/uploads/GM_contamination_final.pdf


Considerable resources are being invested in GM research into all aspects of agrofuel production. GM is being used to promote existing crops for animal feed and agrofuels, which are already competing with food production. Events are moving extremely fast. The threat of climate change is being used to encourage acceptance of new techniques such as synthetic biology and wider applications of genetic engineering biotechnology. Biotech crops have already led to contamination with GMOs at every point throughout the chain from field to plate.9 At the same time, the GM industry is promising a way out of this problem by using GM technology to solve the problems raised by second- generation agrofuels and provide fuel sources that will not compete with food production. Contamination will inevitably increase and become more complex if these same food crops are engineered with traits designed for non-food purposes. Corporate consolidation will also increase, between agribusiness, GM biotechnology and the oil industry

2. Second Generation Agrofuels: How do unproven promises of future technological fixes shape the present debate?

This section concentrates in particular on cellulosic ethanol and Fischer-Tropsch gasification, which are intended to use lignocellulosic biomass. Those technologies are not yet commercially available. Some companies refer to certain agrofuel technologies that use existing feedstock such as palm oil or rapeseed oil as 'second generation' (for example Neste Oil's NExBTL diesel, which uses high-pressure hydrogenation of fatty acids), however this paper is written with reference only to the aforementioned biomass-to-liquid technologies.

Second generation agrofuels and climate change mitigation

Any technology that can help to mitigate climate change must be shown to have the potential for large-scale emissions reductions, once life-cycle emissions of all greenhouse gases have been considered. Emission reductions must happen not just at the micro-level, but also at the global level. If a technology, directly or indirectly, destroys ecosystems that play an essential role in the earth's carbon cycle, or if it indirectly delays the transition away from fossil fuel-intensive production systems, then it risks accelerating, not abating global warming.

As discussed in Chapter 1, there are many concerns that biomass-to-liquid agrofuels could have very serious negative impacts on ecosystems - including soils and forests. There is thus a risk that second-generation agrofuels could accelerate global warming by further decreasing the Earth's capacity to regulate carbon dioxide. Government research funding and policy support is increasingly being channeled into agrofuel research, and in particular into second-generation agrofuel research, at the expense of sustainable renewable energy development. The US Department of Energy, for example, is seeking to divert the entire budget for geothermal energy and advanced hydropower research to second-generation agrofuel research.1 Meanwhile, the European Union gives stronger policy support to agrofuels than to any other type of non-fossil fuel energy. The EU has agreed to mandatory 'biofuel targets' by 2020, with specific reference to second-generation agrofuels being necessary to meet those targets.

Solid biomass-to-liquid agrofuels will almost certainly not be commercially viable in the near future, and may never become viable. There is no evidence that this technology will have the potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the global level, yet they are being promoted at the expense of truly renewable technologies which could help to reduce emissions considerably. There are clear constraints regarding the amount of biomass which can be used for energy production without causing ecosystem degradation.

However any biomass which can be sustainably used will always yield greater emission and energy savings if used in heat and electricity production rather than for transport, particularly in combined heat and power generation. Regardless of any possible future technological breakthroughs, refining plant material into liquid transport fuel will always require additional energy and thus reduce any possible emission savings. In terms of climate change mitigation, the case for investing in second-generation agrofuel research has not been made convincingly.

Commercial availability of second generation agrofuels

Cellulosic ethanol:

Iogen Corporation in Ottawa, Canada, runs the only commercial cellulosic ethanol refinery. In terms of energy use and output, current cellulosic ethanol performs considerably worse than first-generation corn ethanol.2 The different processes needed to refine cellulosic ethanol, including pre-treatment and distillation, are extremely energy-intensive. The United States Department of Energy is currently funding research into cellulosic ethanol, and has identified significant 'biological barriers' which need to be overcome if cellulosic ethanol is to become a viable option.2 Cellulose is a difficult substance to deal with, described by the US DoE as, "heterogeneous and recalcitrant.'' Enzymes can break down cellulose, but they cannot do so efficiently, they can only produce a very dilute mixture which is then distilled into ethanol.

Making cellulosic ethanol viable is not simply a matter of scaling up existing technology and gradually improving efficiency gains. Scientists will have to understand plant physiology better, as well as the mechanisms that prevent cellulose from being broken down by fungi and microbes. Finding such organisms will probably prove to be difficult, so scientists are likely to genetically engineer microbes or fungi for this task, with all the associated risks of GM microorganisms. Work is also being done to genetically engineer plants with lower lignin levels, because the lignin in plant cell walls impedes the breaking down of the cellulose.

There are other problems to be overcome, such as converting the sugars in hemicellulose into ethanol, or making it possible to recover and use the lignin.

It is impossible to predict when, or if at all, these scientific breakthroughs will happen. Billions of dollars are being spent on a technology which clearly will not be available within the crucial time left to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. The current situation is highly reminiscent of biotech industry promises for the second generation of GM crops such as drought and salt resistant crops, which still remain elusive even after many years of research. These biotech 'futures' have been very important to maintain interest in genetic engineering. It is likely that second generation agrofuels will suffer from similar delays but will in the meantime, be used to promote the biotech agenda, with possible future 'spin offs' unrelated to ethanol production.

Fischer-Tropsch gasification:

Fischer-Tropsch gasification is currently about twice as efficient at making agrofuels from solid biomass as cellulosic ethanol processes. It is used mainly to make diesel from coal, for example in South Africa. It is a highly energy-intensive process that is not currently commercially viable without state subsidies, although following heavy state subsidies after the initial capital investment, Sasol are now able to continue production without ongoing subsidies. There are concerns that any breakthrough in this technology could lead to a greater use of coal - even if the research had been financed with a view to using biomass. It appears that the technology is the same and there is nothing to prevent companies from switching from biomass to coal, or co-firing a small amount of biomass with a large amount of coal. Furthermore, large-scale take-up of Fischer-Tropsch gasification could raise fossil fuel emissions beyond the 'business as usual' scenario given by the IPCC.3

Second generation agrofuels and genetic engineering

The genetic engineering industry is actively seeking ways of using genetic engineering to simplify and streamline industrial processes to break down cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, so as to produce agrofuels more easily, cheaply and efficiently from plant biomass.

The industry is looking at ways of modifying plants to:

o produce less lignin

o make it easier to break down the lignin and cellulose o speed up the growth and yield of plants

The industry is simultaneously experimenting with engineering microbes and enzymes to break down plant matter efficiently in an extreme industrial environment as well as looking for new microbes and enzymes that could perform these tasks more effectively than those that are already known. Craig Venter, for example, has collected micro-organisms from sea water for further investigation, including so-called extremophiles living in volcanic vents on the sea bed that could withstand extreme industrial conditions. Others are looking at the microbes in termite guts because they digest plant matter very efficiently.

Companies such as Genencor and Novozymes are trying to reduce the costs of industrial enzyme production, and Diversa Corporation is studying enzymes to break down hemicellulose.4 There is a great deal of interest in using biomass from trees for second generation agrofuels. Trees are an obvious choice if and when methods are developed to break down the plant matter cheaply and effectively. Trees require lower maintenance and fewer inputs than field crops, promising a double advantage for the industry. They also contain more carbohydrates, the raw material for agrofuels, than field crops. As with field crops, genetic engineering is being used to try to reduce the level of lignin in trees and change the structure of the hemicellulose.

The general aim is to reduce the cost of ethanol production and increase the volume produced so that agrofuels can compete economically with fossil fuels without subsidies. Willow, poplar and eucalyptus are major targets for research. Purdue University, for example, funded by the US Department of Energy is working on a poplar hybrid with the aim of producing a low-lignin, faster growing tree for mass production on 'unused' and fallow land.5 Little is known about the impacts of releasing genetically engineered trees. What is certain, however, is that the complex interaction of trees with ecosystems, their long life cycle and their wide dissemination of fruit and pollen, all mean that whatever the impacts are, they will be of a much greater magnitude than those of annual field crops.The risks for natural forest ecosystems could be especially serious.6

Synthetic biology for second generation agrofuels

'Synthetic biology' is the name given to a new area of work that combines genetic engineering with nanotechnology, informatics and engineering. As ever more genomes of different organisms are mapped, providing the raw material, researchers aim not only to re-design existing organisms, but to build completely new organisms that could be more precisely designed, for example, to break down plant matter, or thrive in conditions of mass industrial processing. Craig Venter's new company, Synthetic Genomics, aims to study the genetic information from microbes collected from seawater (see above) to construct a completely new micro-organism designed to convert agricultural waste to ethanol. On 31st May 2007 the US Patent & Trademark Office (US PTO) published US Patent application number 20070122826,entitled 'Minimal bacterial genome,' the first application for an entirely synthetic life form. The US Government puts massive resources into a programme called Genomes to Life (GTL) that supports synthetic biology research as part of the US aim to develop alternatives to its dependence on fossil fuels.7

BP (formerly, British Petroleum) has offered 500 million US dollars to the University of California at Berkeley for research into agrofuels. A major component of this work will be genetic engineering research into lignocellulosic fuels that will include the use of synthetic biology. BP has also joined the Bio-Industry Association. This clearly demonstrates one of the most disturbing aspects of the development of agrofuels - they bring together powerful players from different sectors of the oil industry, agribusiness and biotechnology, creating a danger that corporate power will be further concentrated across the agriculture and energy sectors.

Second generation agrofuels impact on ecosystems, the carbon cycle and the global climate

Advocates of large-scale use of biomass for second generation agrofuels (such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the US Department of Energy (DOE), or the International Energy Agency) assume that large amounts of wood, grasses, and 'plant waste' can be sustainably used for agrofuel production. If second- generation agrofuels were to become viable, their production would rely on large-scale refineries, which would need a constant supply of very large amounts of biomass. A 2005 DOE/USDA report, for example, speaks of using 1.3 billion tonnes of dry biomass every year, just from the US.

To accomplish this, the authors say it would be necessary to remove most of the agricultural residues from soils, to plant 55 million hectares of land in the US under perennial crops for agrofuels, using more manure than the Environmental Protection Agency currently allows, and to put all US cropland under 'no-tillage' agriculture, which would require vast increases in the use of pesticides and fertilizers.8

The removal of organic residues from fields will require greater use of nitrate fertilisers, thus increasing nitrous oxide emissions, nitrate overloading and its very serious impacts on the biodiversity on land, freshwater and oceans. The complete removal of plant material is also likely to accelerate topsoil losses, causing further decline in soil nutrients. This could have serious implications for human health in terms of future nutrient deficiencies in food crops. It is also likely to reduce soil water retention, making agriculture more vulnerable to droughts.

The removal of dead and dying trees from managed forests already leads to large-scale biodiversity losses and possibly to lower carbon sequestration in forests. According to a recent study, less than 5% of the biomass in managed forests in Germany is made up from dead or dying trees or fallen branches, whereas in natural forests they account for around 40%. It is estimated that 20- 25% of all woodland species depend on so-called 'forestry waste' being left in woodlands - including 1,500 types of fungi and 1,350 types of beetles in Germany alone, as well as many other species of insects, lichens, birds, and mammals.

Removing even more 'wood residues' for agrofuels would almost certainly accelerate biodiversity loss and reduce carbon storage in forests. Growing millions of hectares of land under perennial crops for bioenergy will put intense pressure on land both for food production and communities, and for natural ecosystems. Many plants which have been identified as preferred choices for second generation agrofuels already cause serious environmental harm as invasive species, such as miscanthus, switch grass, or reed canary grass.12 So called 'set-aside' land in the EU and areas of the Conservation Reserve Programme in the US are already being sacrificed for biomass expansion. These programmes play a major role in reducing soil erosion and depletion and halting biodiversity decline. Suggestions have been made that biodiverse prairie or meadow grasses could offer the most productive feedstock for second generation agrofuels and increase soil carbon sequestration.10

However, the technical hurdles of such multiple feedstock are considerably greater than for monoculture feedstock - a mix of different enzymes would be required to break down the different plant materials effectively, which would be far more complicated than breaking down one particular feedstock. Investment in research and development is very clearly biased towards genetically engineered monocultures rather than native, biodiverse grass mixes, and it seems unlikely that companies would delay commercializing second generation agrofuels in order to wait for more environmentally-friendly sources of feedstock.

It is currently argued that yields per hectare of agrofuel crops will increase in the future, but there is no evidence for such an assumption; in fact global grain yields have fallen for the past two years, and European rapeseed yields have fallen for the past three years. A recent study by the Carnegie Institute found that global grain yields have already been reduced by global warming - a trend which can only worsen. 11 Falling per-hectare yields will result in more pressure on land to produce the same amount of agrofuels.


Cellulosic ethanol is not close to becoming commercially available, and faces technical barriers that may not be overcome in the foreseeable future. Much of the cellulosic ethanol R&D investment goes into genetic engineering, without any risk assessment. Fischer-Tropsch biodiesel faces different serious technological hurdles, and its R&D might inadvertently aid greater consumption of coal. There has been no assessment of the plantations, or from perennial crop plantations on food production, ecosystems, global greenhouse gas emissions, soil fertility, or water supplies. This means that there is no evidence that large-scale second-generation agrofuels would be either sustainable or climate-friendly. Furthermore, the promises being made by industry about future second generation biofuels are being used by governments, including the EU to promote agrofuel production. In this way, they justify the large-scale expansion of first generation agrofuel monocultures, particularly in the global South, despite growing evidence of severe negative impacts on communities and the environment.


1) http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0915/p02s01-uspo.html

2) Fuel Ethanol Production, DEO, Genomics:GTL, http://genomicsgtl.energy.gov/biofuels/ethanolproduction.shtml#improve

3) see Making it up as you go along, Heidi Ledford, NATURE, Vol 444, 7 December 2006

4) The Economist: Mar 8th 2007, 'Could new techniques for producing ethanol make old-fashioned trees the nopfie; of the future?'http://www.economist.com/science/tq/displayStory.cfm?story_id=8766061

5) Fast-growing GM trees could take root as future energy source, Friday, August 25 2006 http://www.checkbiotech.org/root/index.cfm?fuseaction=news&doc_id=13382&start=1&control=177&page_start=1&page_nr=101&pg=1

6) see http://www.stopgetrees.org/

7) see: An Introduction to Synthetic Biology, January 2007, ETC Group, http://www.etcgroup.org/upload/publication/602/01/synbioreportweb.pdf; and ETC backgrounder: J Craig Venter Institute's patent application on world's first human-made species, June 7th 2007 www.etcgroup.org

8) see: DOE/USDA report by Perlack et al. (2005), http://feedstockreview.ornl.gov/pdf/billion_ton_vision.pdf

9) "Totholz - Bedeutung, Situation, Dynamik", Steffen Herrmann und Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bauhus Waldbau-Institut, Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg, March 2007, http://www.waldundklima.net/wald/totholz_bauhus_herrmann_01.php

10) Tilman, D., Reich, P. B. & Knops, J. M. H. Nature 441, 629-632 (2006); and Tilman, D., Reich, P. B., Knops, J., Wedin, D., Mielke, T. & Lehman, C. Science 294, 843-845 (2001)

11) http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/40916/story.htm

12) Adding Biofuels to the Invasive Species, Fire, S. Rathu, et a., DOI: 10.1126/science.1129313,Science 313, 1742 (2006)CC

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