[ASC-media] Fuel-efficient cows, bones from wool, plastics from willow: stories out next week

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Sun Aug 6 15:00:35 CEST 2006

I am writing to brief you on some of the stories coming out this week at
the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference (ABIC) being
held in Melbourne from 6 to 9 August. 

They include: 

- Bones from wool

- Plastics from willow

- fuel-efficient cows and more

If you would like further information on any of the stories below please
contact me on: 0417 131 977


Australia and New Zealand are at the crest of a wave - turning our
agricultural successes into biotechnology dollars, according to Andrew
Kelly, a venture capitalist, and participant in a large New Zealand
delegation attending the Agricultural Biotechnology International
Conference (ABIC) in Melbourne from 6 to 9 August.

"There are a phenomenal range of young companies developing new foods
and medicines, and improving farming," says Kelly who manages BioPacific
Ventures, a $100 million venture capital fund specialising in
agricultural biotechnology.  

The New Zealanders will be talking about a host of applications.
Highlights include:

- From cricket bats to biofuels and plastics - BioJoule is developing
willow trees as a source of ethanol and feedstuffs for manufacturing.
They say the fast-growing trees can be grown on marginal land. 

- Cellsense - a unique milk quality monitor developed by Sensortec Ltd,
that checks each cow's milk while it's being milked. 

- Wool proteins to repair bones: Wellington-based Keratec is working
with an Australian company, Australian Biotechnologies, to commercialise
its patented bone graft technology using Functionalised Keratin, a
structural protein extracted from wool. Among the applications for the
technology are bone graft and fixation devices, wound dressings,
adhesives, bioplastics and fibres.

- Grasses ain't grasses - New Zealanders know how to grow grass. Now
they and their Australian colleagues are growing a wide range of custom
grasses - some are easier to digest and result in less farts (and
therefore less methane) from sheep and cattle; some are engineered to
reduce allergies, some taste so bad that they could scare birds away
from airports.

- Omega 3 from kiwifruit: Vital Foods is producing an Omega 3 and Omega
6 fatty acid dietary supplement from kiwifruit seeds. The company also
sells a digestion remedy based on an enzyme complex extracted from
kiwifruit pulp. 

- Fuel-efficient cows: a $1 million trans-Tasman investment in research
for more milk and less methane is helping the Livestock Improvement
Corporation create genetic tests to identify cows able to produce more
milk with less (grass) fuel.

"The challenge for New Zealand is to bring these clever ideas to global
markets. And that's why it's the right time for our region to host
ABIC," Kelly says. "We can create opportunities to bring new products to
market both through our traditional agricultural customers around the
world and also through innovative new players emerging in the global
food product markets. 

Other NZ organisations at ABIC include: Abacus Bio Ltd; Agmax Industries
Ltd; Agriquality; Ag Research Ltd; BioPacific Ventures; Crop and Food
Research Ltd; Encoate Ltd; Genesis Research Ltd; GroChem Ltd; Hill
Laboratories Ltd; HortResearch Ltd; ICP Bio Ltd; Keratec Ltd; Livestock
Improvement Corporation; NZ Bio Inc; Ovita Ltd; PGG Wrightson Ltd;
PhytaGro Ltd; Scion Ltd; Sensortec; Staron; Vialactia - Pastoral
Genomics; Waikatolink.

For further information contact Niall Byrne, +61 417 131 977,
niall at scienceinpublic.com; Chris Boalch, Sector Director -
Biotechnology, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, +64 27 2899581,
chris.boalch at nzte.govt.nz; Sophi Nauman, NZTE, +64 27 477 1987

For more information on New Zealand, please visit www.newzealand.com.

Kind regards,


Niall Byrne

Science in Public
+61 3 5253 1391
niall at scienceinpublic.com

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