ST. LOUIS — Monsanto Company and Sapphire Energy have created an agreement to enter a multi-year collaboration that will leverage Sapphire’s algae-based research platform to discover genes that could be applied to agriculture, particularly in the field of yield and stress.
Sapphire Energy is known for its leading work in bio-energy, which involves applying synthetic biology to produce drop-in replacement fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from algae.
This collaboration will enable Monsanto to tap Sapphire’s algal expertise and research tools, which can be used to screen for promising traits in algae that might have applicability in modern agriculture.
For Sapphire, this collaboration will push the known boundaries of algal science to search not only for traits that will impact traditional agricultural crops, but will also accelerate Sapphire’s road to commercializing algae as a renewable energy crop.
Identifying genes. The collaboration will focus on identifying genes that positively affect growth in algae, a target for Sapphire, which might increase crop yields as well.
Under the agreement, Monsanto and Sapphire will collaborate on algae-based research projects, and Monsanto will make an equity investment in Sapphire.
Other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.