São Paulo startup creates new disease-resistant sugarcane strain

PangeiaBiotech has created the first 'double transgenic' strain of sugarcane, resistant to moth and tolerant to pesticides

transgenic sugarcane
Embryo developed by PangeiaBiotech. Photo: Léo Ramos Chaves/Revista Pesquisa Fapesp

Responsible for losses estimated at BRL 5 billion each harvest, the greatest threat to sugarcane farming in Brazil is an insect measuring just over 20 millimeters long: the Diatraea saccharalis moth in its larval phase, better known as the ‘sugarcane drill.’ To combat the pest, São Paulo company PangeiaBiotech has developed an innovative solution, using even smaller organisms and genetic engineering tools. 

The startup is developing genetically modified strains of sugarcane that associate the production of two bioinsecticide proteins from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) with a gene extracted from another microorganism, Agrobacterium sp., which gives it greater tolerance to...

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