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February 28, 2010

Jatropha cultivar optimized for growing conditions in Guatamala launched

SG Biofuels announced the launch of JMax 100, a proprietary cultivar of Jatropha optimized for growing conditions in Guatemala.

JMax 100 is the first "elite" cultivar developed through the company's JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform. The platform provides growers and plantation developers with access to high-yielding Jatropha, the sequenced genome and advanced biotech and synthetic biology tools to develop cultivars designed for their unique growing conditions.

JMax 100 is intended to increase the profitability of Jatropha to greater than $400 per acre. Company sources say the cultivar provides yields up to 100 percent greater than existing varieties. The SG Biofuels Genetic Resource Center contains over 6,000 unique accessions of Jatropha.

"JMax 100 is the tip of the iceberg in the development of Jatropha as a renewable energy crop," said Kirk Haney, President and Chief Executive Officer of SG Biofuels. "While Guatemala now has a significant head-start, we anticipate continued advancements through the JMax platform that will further enhance the productivity and profitability of Jatropha for growers around the world."

SG Biofuels will work with a select group of partners and collaborators to optimize JMax for region-specific planting through the establishment of in-region technology centers. In addition to its work in Guatemala, the company says it is collaborating with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) to develop a customized Jatropha cultivar that can be used to meet the high demand for locally-grown renewable fuel.

Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub that is native to Central America. Its seeds contain high amounts of oil that can be refined using existing technology to produce diesel fuel, jet fuel, and specialty chemicals. It can be effectively grown on marginal lands that are considered undesirable for other crops.

Penn Energy

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