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VIB applies for second poplar field trial
Date:2/1/2013

t of the use of energy and chemicals such as caustic soda. The genetically modified poplars for this new field trial have an altered lignin composition, making it easier to degrade. They were created at the INRA in France as part of an EU financed research project to which also VIB participated. The results of the new field trial will be particularly interesting in comparison to the current poplar field trial in Zwijnaarde. In contrast to the new tress, the genetically modified poplars in Zwijnaarde mainly have less lignin. These poplars will undergo their first real harvest at the end of this winter.

Changes in lignin composition also exist in nature

Changes in the lignin composition in wood also occur in nature, but they are very rare. In recent years, a black poplar was discovered in Europe and a pine was discovered in the United States that have acquired similar changes in wood composition as a result of natural mutations. Transferring these mutations to fast-growing, modified trees via classic breeding is an option, but is difficult and time-consuming. The genetic modification of the poplars will produce results much more quickly. Scientific know-how is also acquired about screening of natural populations of trees in future for their potential use in a bio-based economy.

The license procedure

The license application for the new field trial has been declared complete and acceptable. The Federal minister Onkelinx, as well as the state secretary Wathelet, will decide on the dossier with input from the Flemish minister Schauvliege. Advice will be obtained from the Bio-Safety Council in this matter. The general population can view the dossier via the website of the Federal Public Service for Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment and in the town halls of Melle and Wetteren. This is part of the public enquiry that will open from 5 February to 7 March 2013.


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Contact: Kris Van der Beken
kris.vanderbeken@vib.be
32-473-783-435
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Source:Eurekalert

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