B/BE/07/V2: Field evaluation of five different poplar events with reduced lignin for ethanol production

GMTW-118 , updated 13 Sep 2011
B/BE/07/V2
2009 - 2014
The site is in total 6500 m2 of which a maximum of 2400 m2 will be planted with transgenic poplars.
agronomic assessment: reduced lignin

Summary

Five different GM poplars with reduced lignin production are released at two locations in Ghent (Belgium). Four of these GM trees have already been released before in France by INRA. The trees are intended for agrofuel (bio-ethanol) production. The goal of the trial is purely agronomic: an assessment of the reduced lignin production, without any environmental assessement.

Description

Five different GM poplars with reduced lignin production are released at two locations in Ghent (Belgium). Four of these GM trees have already been released before in France by INRA. The trees are intended for agrofuel (bio-ethanol) production. The goal of the trial is purely agronomic: an assessment of the reduced lignin production, without any environmental assessement.

"As already specified, the genetically modified poplars are modified for the content and/or quality of lignin. Lignin is very important for both tree growth and development, particularly for water conduction and mechanical support. These different transgenic lines of poplars have been already evaluated in a previous field trial in France, for agricultural performances and for evaluation of the technological properties of wood for pulp and paper making. This release has the purpose to produce enough wood from lignin modified poplars in order to evaluate its properties for bio-energy production, in particular bio-ethanol. Both lignin/cellulose ratio and the accessibility to cellulose are critical for the production of bioethanol from ligno-cellulosic feedstock. The poplar trees will be grown as a short rotation intensive culture on a low-grade soil (marginal land) using sustainable low-input conditions. The release also intends to take advantage of the developments in the Ghent-BioEnergy-Valley, where a number of bio-energy initiatives have taken ground, including the start-up of a bioprocess pilot plant for bio-energy production. The release can also be seen as a partial repetition of the trial B/FR/07/06/01 (the current release only involves 4 lines, where the FR trial includes more lines) at INRA-Orleans in France, providing additional scientific value to the outcomes of this trial and vice-versa. [...] In this field trial there will be no data collection of new data on the environmental and human health impact of the release." (JRC 2007)