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Crop Breeding and Applied Biotechnology

versão On-line ISSN 1984-7033


DIAS, Luiz Antônio dos Santos. Biofuel plant species and the contribution of genetic improvement. Crop Breed. Appl. Biotechnol. [online]. 2011, vol.11, n.spe, pp.16-26. ISSN 1984-7033.

The paper analyses the puzzle of the food-energy-environmental security interaction, to which biofuels are part of the solution. It presents and discusses the contribution of genetic improvement to biofuels, with regard to the production of raw materials (oil and ethanol-producing plant species) and designs perspectives, opportunities, risks and challenges, with a special focus on the Brazilian scene. Bioethanol is a consolidated biofuel owing largely to the sugarcane breeding programs. These programs released 111 sugarcane cultivars and were responsible for a 20.8 % gain in productivity of bioethanol (in m3 ha-1) between 2000 and 2009. The program of Brazilian biodiesel production, initiated in 2005, had an annual growth rate of 10 % and the country is already the world's fourth largest producer. However, the contribution of breeding to biodiesel production is still modest, due to the lack of specific improvement programs for oil.

Palavras-chave : bioethanol; biodiesel; agroenergy; energy and food security; climate changes.

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