July 11 - 14: Toronto, Ontario
I attended the 2006 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessessing as well as the Agri-Food Innovation Forum at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. The conference celebrated recent advances in bioproduct technology and highlighted the potential and forseeable challenges of future research in this field.
What are bioproducts? Click here for an excellent primer.
Distinguished speakers from almost every continent gave lectures and participated in panel debates in front of the audience. There was broad representation from industry, academia, and government, and the overall focus was on renewable resources such as fuel, materials, and molecules through plant-based bioreactors. This is seen as part of the solution to address growing concerns about oil-based fuels and plastics. Current industrial processes are not sustainable and as demand for resources grows, innovative production methodologies for chemicals, fibres, structural materials, fuels, and medicines must be developed.
Bioethanol received a great deal of attention as speakers seeked end the debate over whether the usable energy output outweighs the energy input required to produce biofuels. Leading authority Dr. Lee Lynd of Dartmouth University suggested that the potential energy output:input ratio of cellulosic ethanol will be in the range of 20:1. Feedstock improvement as well as the enzymatic and microbial processing methods must be improved in order to acheive this goal.
The Biotron is poised to provide the research infrastructure necessary to support the momentum that is building in the area of industrial bioproduct development. This is in line with the Biotron's mandate to promote sustainable development and to manage the impact of changing environments on ecosystems. The Biotron provides specialized laboratory and growth chamber capacity for the development and testing of novel bioproducts. Industry and university research teams are encourage dto contact us to discuss projects in this exciting field.