Corporate Wheeling & Dealing

Jun 152016
 
Meet the New Stevia! GMOs 2.0 Get Dressed for Success

by Stacy Malkan (The Huffington Post) Our culture is smitten with the notion that technology can save us – or at least create great business opportunities! Cargill, for example, is working on a new food technology that mimics stevia, a sugar substitute derived from plant leaves, for the “exploding sports nutrition market.” Cargill’s new product, EverSweet, uses genetically engineered yeast to convert sugar molecules to mimic the properties of stevia, with no need for the [More]

May 252016
 
Mascoma: The biggest misspending of public funds for cellulosic biofuels ever?

This is an investigation of Mascoma Corporation, a start-up biofuels company which may have misspent more public funds intended for building advanced biofuels refineries than any other company in North America. Download the investigation Summary: Mascoma took at least $100m and possibly over $155m in public funding intended for building integrated biorefineries. Their biggest donor was the US Department of Energy (DoE), including the DoE funded BioenergyScience Center. They also received $14.8 million from New [More]

May 052016
 
U.S. tries to export its biotech deregulatory regime

by Dr. Steve Suppan (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy) A long standing claim by the U.S. government and agribusiness lobby is that U.S. regulations on genetically engineered (GE) crops are science-based while European regulations are not.  For example, an April 8 letter from the American Soybean Association to the U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, states that “approval of these events [three GE soy crops] is [More]

Apr 222016
 
New GMOs are 'not GM' - EU folds under US pressure

by Oliver Tickell (the Ecologist) The EU Commission has caved in to US pressure in TTIP trade talks by deciding to consider organisms modified by new ‘gene editing’ techniques as non-GM – in violation of the EU’s own laws. The move could make the ‘new GMOs’ exempt from labeling and from health and environmental testing. The TTIP negotiations are seen by industry and the US government as the perfect opportunity to block EU processes that [More]

Mar 152016
 
Biofuel or Biofraud? The Vast Taxpayer Cost of Failed Cellulosic and Algal Biofuels

by Almuth Ernsting (Independent Science News) Biofuels consumed today are usually ethanol made from the sugar in sugar cane (or sugar beet) or they may be made from starch in grains. In the US this is mostly corn starch. Alternatively, biodiesel may be made from plant oils such as soybean or canola oil. Cellulosic biofuels, on the other hand, are biofuels made from crop residues (e.g. corn stover), wood, or whole plants, especially grasses (e.g. [More]

Feb 262016
 
Not cheap and not plentiful: Hyped-up synthetic biology claims take another blow as malaria drug production plant shuts down

by Almuth Ernsting Synthetic biology is being heavily promoted and funded as a way to produce large quantities of cheap industrial products, including biofuels. But so far affordable, large-scale manufacture with synbio organisms has proven elusive. Synbio start-up companies that set out to produce high volumes of low-cost biofuels have switched to low volumes of expensive chemicals, cosmetics and food additives instead. Many are still struggling to stay afloat. Sanofi’s synthetic artemisinin, an anti-malaria drug, [More]

Feb 052016
 
Sino-Genta?

by ETC Group And soon there will be three. Joy of six heads towards a “ménage à trois” For more background, see ETC Group’s recent report: Breaking Bad: Big Ag Mega-Mergers in Play [i] For a decade, six multinationals have controlled 75% of the world’s high-tech seeds and pesticides businesses. Late last year, Dow and DuPont agreed to merge and now state-owned ChemChina is buying Syngenta for $43 billion. This means that Monsanto needs a merger to stay in the game. Or, is the game about to be [More]

Feb 022016
 
Brussels biotech lobby's last push for 'GM 2.0' technologies to escape regulation

by Nina Holland (The Ecologist) Biotech corporations have invested billions in a range of new ‘GM 2.0’ technologies designed to redesign the world’s germplasm and create new generations of super-GMOs, writes Nina Holland. And powerful investors have no intention of letting tedious EU regulations get in the way of the profits they are now poised to reap – no matter what the laws actually say. The European Commission is close to issuing a crucial decision [More]

Jan 212016
 
New GM food could end up on your plate untested and unlabelled

by franziska achterberg (Greenpeace EU Unit) After two decades of commercial use, Europeans still can’t stomach genetically modified (GM) food. But their producers may have found a way to bypass public opposition and safety regulation. A new range of GM plants and animals could soon end up on the dinner table without any testing or labelling, and without anybody knowing. Agrochemical multinationals believe EU laws on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are too onerous. This is why [More]

Jan 152016
 
GM 2.0? 'Gene-editing' produces GMOs that must be regulated as GMOs

This is an important article about the battle to ensure that gene-editing is treated under GM regulations in the EU. It’s relevant to synbio as many of the new “breeding techniques” under consideration by the EU – such as the genome editing described in the article below – are increasingly seen as common practices within the synthetic biology field, and contribute towards the establishment of a broader bioeconomy. by Janet Cotter & Ricarda Steinbrecher (Ecologist) [More]