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Evogene Ltd Expands Biofuel Activity in Brazil With SLC Agricola


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This expansion follows successful completion of field trials for such varieties in northeast Brazil during 2011.

The collaboration between Evogene and SLC Agricola, initiated in 2010, is focused on developing advanced castor seed displaying high oil yield under rain-fed conditions and suitable for sustainable and commercial production in Brazil. In recently completed field trials, proprietary castor varieties developed by Evogene demonstrated improved yield potential and performance compared to existing cultivars. Under the expanded agreement, the companies will continue to collaborate on evaluating Evogene's castor varieties in SLC's farm locations in northeast Brazil to determine the best performing varieties and agronomic practices suitable for commercial scale production.

"We are excited with the results achieved and look forward to continuing our joint efforts with SLC Agricola, one of the leading soybean and cotton producers in Brazil. Combining Evogene's world leading capabilities for crop improvement with SLC's agricultural production systems is expected to strongly position our castor varieties as a sustainable and economically viable feedstock solution for the growing biodiesel and biojet markets," stated Assaf Oron, EVP Strategy & Business Development at Evogene. "And, with Brazil's leadership and long term commitment to biofuel as well as its well established agriculture industry, there is a substantial opportunity for large scale commercial production of castor in Brazil."

"We are developing a new alternative crop to plant as a second crop after the soybean harvest. Also, it can be another source of oil to maximize the production of biodiesel at the cotton seed oil industry," stated Aurélio Pavinato, Chief Operator Officer of SLC Agrícola S.A."

Evogene's castor varieties are targeted at being highly competitive with currently available feedstock for biodiesel, enabling oil production at a cost equivalent to approximately $50 per barrel, compared to much higher costs based on production from existing food crops, such as soybean and canola oils. Furthermore, biodiesel produced from the Evogene's castor varieties is expected to substantially reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions -- by over 75% compared with conventional diesel, as demonstrated by a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) conducted.

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