According to Metabolix, oilseeds are the primary feedstock for the more than 250 million gallons of biodiesel produced annually in the US and the co-production of bioplastics promises to improve the economics of this crop industry.

As part of this initiative, Metabolix has established research collaboration with oilseed experts at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a non-profit research institute in St Louis, Missouri.

Industrial oilseeds represent the third crop system to which Metabolix is applying its technology. The company said that it is developing enhanced switchgrass and sugarcane crops to co-produce bio-based and biodegradable plastic within the leaves and stems of these crops to economically meet clean energy and bioplastic needs.

Oliver Peoples, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Metabolix, said: This technology is expected to play an important role in reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. This initiative aims to create another bio-based route to economically produce bioplastics and biofuels in high yields directly in non-food crops.