Statement on Sapphire-Monsanto Collaboration

March 8, 2011

Earlier today, Sapphire Energy and Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) announced a ground-breaking agreement to enter into a multi-year collaboration that will leverage Sapphire’s algae-based research to explore genes that could be applied to agriculture. In support of ABO member Sapphire and on behalf of the U.S. algae industry, ABO Executive Director Mary Rosenthal today released the following statement:

“Sapphire’s collaboration with Monsanto is an important demonstration in synthetic biology development. At its core, it is a proof point that algae are photosynthetic plants.  As we continue to look for sources of energy and food from renewable sources, this collaboration is one more critical step forward in identifying algae as a true agricultural crop.

Moreover, the opportunity to increase yields in food crops with novel approaches from the development of algae-based technology should give pause to the detractors who question the use of renewable resources, such as plants, for energy needs. As this collaboration illustrates, algae technology can fundamentally help address both food and fuel needs.

This announcement serves as a powerful example of the true potential of algae to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems. Innovative collaborations such as this one between Sapphire and Monsanto are precisely why policymakers should – at the very least – give algae-based technology and algae-based fuels parity with other feedstocks.  Given that supportive federal policy is crucial to accelerating commercial production, we hope that Congress will continue to expand its investments in research, development and deployment of algae technology and projects.”

Media Contact:

John Williams, Scoville Public Relations for ABO

206-625-0075 x1,