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Department of Plant Sciences

Future-proofing sugar production

CambPlants leads discussions with global AB Sugar Management

As part of their annual global operations conference, AB Sugar invited members of the CambPlants Initiative to an afternoon of talks, posters and discussions surrounding how the company could respond to challenges and opportunities posed by global developments.

Dr Bhaskar Vira (Geography) gave an overview of the Strategic Initiative in Global Food Security and issues around political economy, such as land- and resource-grabbing; Prof Howard Griffiths (Plant Sciences) talked about water stress, carbon concentrating mechanisms and genetic innovation in crop plants, and Prof Paul Dupree (Biochemistry) highlighted opportunities for production of energy and chemicals from sugar and lignocellulosic by-products.

The talks were followed by a lively panel discussion and then a poster-pitch session. Dr Matthew Castle (Plant Sciences) introduced modelling of disease spread and mitigation options, Dr Matthew Davey (Plant Sciences) explained bioremediation and generation of value-from-waste using algae, Dr Paolo Bombelli (Biochemistry) and Ross Dennis (Plant Sciences) showcased the power of biophotovoltaics with the moss clock, and Dr Sue Barnard (Zoology and Tropical Biology Association) highlighted benefits of biodiversity conservation.

Throughout the afternoon, delegates captured ideas of how the new information could be incorporated into forward planning of the business, and follow-up conversations will take place with AB Sugar's innovation department.