Senior Vice President and Chief Science & Technology Officer Doug Muzyka recently gave a keynote presentation on “Life Science Addressing Global Challenges,” at the Fraunhofer-Delaware Technology Summit held at the University of Delaware.
In his presentation, Doug shared the recommendations presented in the 2009 New Biology for the 21st Century Report, and spoke about how, like the Report’s recommendations, DuPont is using science to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
“Fundamentally there are two ways to increase food production to meet the growing need,” said Doug. “One is by farming more land and the other is through the use of technology to increase farm productivity.” Only 27% of the 97% increase in corn productivity attained over the past three decades was due to increased farming area; the rest was due to improvements in yield driven by advances in technology.
Doug shared two examples of technology advancements at DuPont to increase farm productivity: drought tolerant corn and nitrogen use efficiency corn. DuPont also has developed Plenish™ High Oleic Soybeans to improve the nutritional profile of soybean oil.
He also described science advancements at DuPont in the field of metabolic engineering. Doug showcased the seminal achievement that DuPont and its partners created with the Bio-PDO® enterprise. Such production from corn, gives manufacturers the ability to replace petroleum derived materials with high performance, biodegradable solutions that can significantly reduce the environmental impact of their products. In addition to Bio-PDO®, Doug also described how metabolic engineering has been used to create more efficient biofuel production processes such as cellulosic ethanol and biobutanol.
The Summit was sponsored by the Fraunhofer Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB), located in the Delaware Technology Park. CMB is a subsidiary of Fraunhofer USA, and conducts research and development in the area of plant biotechnology. More than 180 attendees from public, private and government institutions attended the Summit.
The New Biology for the 21st Century Report
The Report, released by the National Research Council of the National Academies, examined the state of biologic research in the U.S. and recommended how best to capitalize on the technological and scientific advances in biology. It proposed creating the New Biology Initiative to accelerate the development of solutions for societal challenges in food, energy, environment and health. EVP and Chief Innovation Officer Tom Connolly was a co-chair on the committee.