USA-based biotechnology company, Ceres Inc, announced on 2 May that field-testing of its biotech sugarcane in Brazil had been approved.

Ceres planned to test its biomass and sugar yield and stress tolerant traits in several commercial sugarcane cultivators, which are adapted to Brazil’s major production areas.

The trials were approved by Brazil’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and were expected to start by mid-June.

Field testing should provide insight into how the traits would perform in an agricultural setting, Ceres said, which was why it was such a critical stage.

Ceres’ President and CEO Richard Hamilton said, “We believe we have a significant opportunity to bring innovative technology to the sugarcane market, with immediate opportunities to increase sugar yields and preserve the yields in the kind of drought conditions that have been prevailing in Brazil in recent years”.

Ceres said that in similar trials performed outside of Brazil last year, biomass yields were increased in elite tropical sugarcane varieties, and plants with the drought resistant traits maintained biomass yields with half the water usually required.

It was expected that results from trials outside of Brazil would be available in the next three months, and results from Brazil would be available next year.