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The challenge

Meeting the population growth challenge

Humans have come to rely heavily on mineral oil for both energy and petrochemical needs. In the coming decades, rising demand driven by population increases and shrinking reserves of mineral oil will require that the energy and petrochemical needs be met from other, more renewable, sources. In addition, population growth will drive the need for increased nutrition and calories from our agriculture systems.

These two challenges must be met simultaneously and sustainably.

Our response

Expanding plant oil uses and production

Plant oils are already an important source of energy and nutrition in the human diet, and are also uniquely suited for expanded use as industrial raw materials and substitutes for current petrochemicals. We are using cutting edge biotechnology to greatly expand plant oil production capacity, by dramatically increasing productivity in current oil crops and by developing and introducing novel oil production platforms. We are also tailoring plant oil composition to make them more suitable for specific food, feed and industrial uses.

Furthermore, the group is exploring the stacking of above oil traits with other traits of interest such as improved plant protein composition and/or reduced lignin content to drive the next generation of oil crops that will provide expanded benefits for Australian and global agriculture.

Oil crops case study

  • CSIRO’s leaf oil technology has made it possible to produce oil in the leaves, stems and other biomass of plants. This opens up new opportunities in the global production of renewable oils for human food, stock feed, biofuels and other industrial uses.

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