Monsanto denies plans to sell plastic from plants

Monsanto has denied it has any plans to develop commercial techniques into genetically modifying plants that grow polymers that could be turned into plastic.

“This is not technology that we will be commercialising,” Scarlett Lee Foster of Monsanto told edie. “It is not new information. It is simply that a peer review paper was submitted on research findings so far.”

Research by Monsanto into the possibility that plants could be genetically modified to grow commercially-usable polymers has been published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Research thus far has been successful in creating plants that grow polymers, but the UK daily, The Guardian, confirmed with the leader of the research that a method of extracting the polymer has not yet been found. Dr Ken Gruys estimated that at least a decade of further research is required before it will be known whether the technique is viable for the production of plastics.

The environmental group Greenpeace was quick to point out that non-fossil fuel-based plastics exist already and that their production does not require genetic manipulation.

One such plastic, known as Biopol, is used by the Co-op Bank to produce non-PVC credit cards, including a Greenpeace affinity card (see related story). Biopol is produced using a process patented by Monsanto and is produced using sugar syrup, minerals and organic acids.

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