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Seashore Mallow Seen As Biodiesel Source

July 12, 2007

The seeds from a seashore mallow could be a promising source of biodiesel, with an oil composition similar to that of soybeans and cottonseed, according to University of Delaware marine biosciences professor John Gallagher, the Assoicated Press reports. The pink-flowered plant, native to salt marshes stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the mid-Atlantic, is both a perennial and a halophyte, or salt-tolerant plant that grows in areas where other crops can't.Gallagher says the seeds could help with a host of environmental problems, from global warming to the disappearance of coastal farmland.Seed yield would need to be improved before the mallow can be commercialized for biodiesel purposes, but Gallagher and his colleagues say selective breeding, tissue culturing and genetic engineering could improve the crop potential of the plant.
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