China's Ministry of Agriculture announced
Monday that they had bred a new kind of rapeseed plant with a record high oil content of 54.72 percent. The nearly two percent increase in oil content was achieved by the Institute of Oil Crops Research of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences without genetically modifying the plant. When grown in high altitute regions, the oil content was even higher, the ministry said. The plant was developed specifically to produce more biodiesel
per plant. Wang Hanzhong, leader of the development team and research fellow of the institute, said that the Yangtze River Valley could produce 40 million tons of biodiesel per year. Rapeseed
is also used to make canola oil and has long been used in Europe to make biodiesel. Rapeseed prices increased from $711US per ton at the end of 2005 to the current $822US a ton.