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New Crops for the Future Research Centre -- for food and non-food uses
Date:6/27/2011

The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus is to co- host the first ever Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) in partnership with the Government of Malaysia.

The centre, specifically designed to evaluate underutilised crops from all corners of the world, will be at the heart of an international effort to seek out which crops have the potential to be grown for human sustenance or on a commercial basis for food, pharmaceuticals or biomaterials in the climates of the future.

With 18,000 indigenous species in its region and funding of nearly $40m from the Malaysian Government, CFFRC has been given the mandate to carry out research on a whole range of underutilised crops.

Professor Sayed Azam-Ali, who will become the first Chief Executive Officer of CFFRC, said: "In poor and impoverished regions of the world there are plants that have survived despite research and despite science. This is our chance to find out what those plants would be like as crops for the future in climates of the future. With focussed scientific efforts applied to unconventional crops we can do things that will make them more valuable, more useful and more popular. This is the first time that any national government has actually said 'we will give you the infrastructure and support to do it' and that is a massive vote of confidence by the Government of Malaysia."

The human race relies on fewer and fewer plants to feed more and more people for example, wheat, rice and maize alone provide over 60 per cent of the global diet. Meanwhile, potential sources of food are going un-noticed and some plants are disappearing altogether. Scientists believe that many of these species could be of major agricultural significance or be developed as niche products.

Although natural biodiversity is now of huge international concern and its importance has been recognised by Governments across the globe, agricultural biodiversity the plants we grow has att
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Contact: Lindsay Brooke
lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-951-5751
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert

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