Genetically Modified Tobacco

December 7, 2004

Talk about niche markets! Four years ago Vincent sold a Model VP-6 screw press to Biosource Technology of Kentucky for pressing genetically modified tobacco. Next we supplied our lab angle shredder and a press to Planet Biotechnology in California for the same purpose. More recently, our good customer Sigma Aldrich arranged a rental press for Chlorogen. Chlorogen is their Missouri JV partner, who used the press for extracting juice from transgenic tobacco.

These firms use bioreactor technology to extract a specific molecule. This molecule is key in the development of medicines for the healing of the common cold, tooth cavities, recovery from heart surgery, and Parkinson's Disease. These are not boutique drugs!

Tobacco has been selected because it can be grown in large quantities. This allows large-scale production without the high costs of producing the same molecule in a laboratory environment.

We asked about nicotine. They are not interested in it. It is a small molecule that can be filtered out.

Firms that process ordinary alfalfa with our equipment centrifuge the press liquor. The green curd produced by the decanter is of high value, while the brown liquor that is separated is of little use. With transgenic tobacco, the opposite is true: the value is in the brown liquor.

Recently Vincent took on a project involving the stems of the tobacco plant. We were told we could not test with stems from the GM greenhouses because of controls on GM material. Instead, we are to use stems from wild tobacco. That is the one God makes.

Vincent equipment has been used with other genetically modified crops. Medicago, a long-term Quebec client, uses a Vincent press on GM alfalfa. Also, Monsanto used our screw press in work with transgenic soybeans.

Issue 155