The National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio), a Brazilian institution that advises the Federal Government of Brazil, approved a new herbicide-tolerant genetically modified (GM) eucalyptus variety for commercial use. The new technology was developed by FuturaGene, a Suzano subsidiary and leader in plant genetic research and development aimed at increasing the productivity and resilience of the global renewable forest sector.
The novelty was evaluated and approved by CTNBio after extensive testing and risk assessments, as well as molecular characterization to ensure that the modified plants do not pose risks to human and animal health or the environment.
The new eucalyptus prints the characteristic of tolerance in the herbicide glyphosate, widely used in the forestry sector for more than three decades during the initial stages of planting eucalyptus. The technology will enable more efficient use of the product in forest areas, reducing input costs. In addition, it will offer field teams better working conditions and will result in less use of tractors in forestry operations, thus reducing the carbon footprint of these activities. Reducing damage to young trees should increase productivity in the field, at a time when the world demand for renewable products, such as wood, is growing significantly.
“The development of this technology is part of Suzano’s strategy to combine innovation and sustainability to create processes and products that make it possible to use less areas and agrochemicals in order to preserve and protect natural resources even more, which contributes to Suzano’s purpose of renewing life from the tree”, comments the president of Suzano, Walter Schalka.
The development process of FuturaGene’s new GM Eucalyptus included an extensive biosafety assessment, taking more than eight years to complete. After being approved by CTNBio, the technology will be incorporated into Suzano’s conventional breeding program to expand the tests in representative regions of the eucalyptus crop, as occurs with conventional clones. This step aims to develop materials adapted for future commercial use.
According to Suzano, all activities carried out after approval will be carried out using the highest safety and ethical guidelines, as established in the GM trees policy, and based on the company’s forest management practices.
The company also stated that it is committed to sharing the benefits and value of this new technology with partners through its forestry development program, including small landowners. After large-scale testing, partners will have free access to the technology without the need to pay royalties.