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Quinvita Gets $1M Grant for Jatropha Studies

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The agricultural biotech company Quinvita has landed a €715,000 ($1 million) grant from the Flemish government to fund efforts to study the genome of Jatropha curcas, a durable tree used to make oil for biofuels.

The Ghent, Belgium-based company will use the three-year grant from the agency for Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT) to support a partnership with researchers at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) to start an R&D program focused on Jatropha agronomy and genetics.

Jatropha is known for its abilities to grow well in various environments, including tropical and sub-tropical regions, in wastelands and on a range of terrains, including gravelly, sandy, and saline soils.

"The award of the IWT grant is a vote of confidence in the quality of work ongoing on Jatropha curcas in Flanders," KU Leuven Professor of Forest Ecology and Management Bart Muys said in a statement.

Quinvita CEO Henk Joos said the funding will strengthen the company's collaboration with Muys' team at KU Leuven, "which has proven through their recent scientific publications to be one of the leading research groups in the world on Jatropha curcas."

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