SOURCE: SGB

SGB

March 25, 2013 20:30 ET

SGB Confirms Superior Performance of Its Elite Jatropha Hybrids in India

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - Mar 25, 2013) - SGB, Inc. (SG Biofuels), an energy crop company delivering high performance bioenergy solutions for the renewable fuel, biomass and chemical markets, announced today it has developed elite Jatropha hybrids for India that are on track to deliver 5.5 metric tons of seed per year and possess the critical plant attributes necessary to ensure yield preservation and the crop's economic viability in India's challenging growing environments.

The performance of SGB's hybrids has been tested and validated through the company's global network of 15 Jatropha hybrid trial and agronomic research sites, with local results validated at six centers located in India (three in Chhattisgarh, one in Uttar Pradesh, one in Andhra Pradesh and one in Odisha).

Globally, SGB has validated that the yield of its hybrids is trending according to the yield curve at years one, two and three, providing expected yields of 5.5 metric tons of dry seed by maturity at years four or five. Performance in India is following this trend, with side-by-side comparisons revealing SGB's hybrids consistently outperforming commercial checks by 400 to 500 percent.

More significantly, SGB's hybrids in India possess key yield preservation characteristics that ensure the genetic potential of the crop is realized under a range of India's difficult growing conditions. Characteristics of SGB's hybrids in India include significantly improved germination rates, and exceptional stress, insect and disease tolerance. SGB's hybrids also exhibit early flowering and fruiting -- essential characteristics to establish the crop once the monsoon season has completed and in advance of the high heat and drought conditions which follow.

The company has identified several of its hybrids that thrived amidst last year's near-record setting heat wave in India, marked by temperatures consistently exceeding 45 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than four weeks, coupled with a delay in the traditional monsoon rains.

"Achieving key yield targets is important, but equally critical is the ability to develop and validate a portfolio of hybrids with differing genetic backgrounds and characteristics that minimize planting risk and maintain yield performance under adverse conditions," said Kirk Haney, president and chief executive officer of SGB. "Through our hybrid trials and agronomic studies in India, we have looked at a wide range of factors that drive project economics and success to create hybrids and agronomic solutions that are truly adaptive to the country's challenging growing conditions."

Called JMax Knowledge Centers™, SGB's research sites are professionally managed trials where SGB evaluates hundreds of hybrids in a range of environmental and agronomic conditions. The centers serve as outdoor classrooms where SGB agronomists and technical teams conduct training and field tours with customers and growers, and develop localized agronomic studies and recommendations while advancing the top performing Jatropha hybrids for commercial deployment.

"The performance of SGB's Jatropha hybrids in India has far surpassed anything we have previously seen with the crop and provides us with significant confidence that we have the right platform in place to make Jatropha a viable energy crop for India," said Sandeep Chaturvedi, president of the Biodiesel Association of India.

SGB's hybrids have been developed following five years of research, drawing from a diverse germplasm library including more than 12,000 unique genotypes. SGB recently validated that its germplasm collection contains more than 2 million individual genetic markers, confirming Jatropha has a genetic diversity comparable to corn and other domesticated crops.

In contrast to previous studies, these findings confirm significant genetic diversity in Jatropha which enables SGB breeders to maximize hybrid vigor by identifying the most genetically diverse parental lines to use for the creation of elite hybrid seeds. Hybrid vigor, also known as heterosis, results in higher yields, improved plant health and increased stress tolerance.

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