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Agriculture 2015, 5(4), 901-917;

From Pandemic Preparedness to Biofuel Production: Tobacco Finds Its Biotechnology Niche in North America

Chemical and Biological Signature Sciences Group, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA 99352, USA
Academic Editor: Terence J. Centner
Received: 4 August 2015 / Revised: 28 August 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 25 September 2015
Full-Text   |   PDF [218 KB, uploaded 25 September 2015]


In 2012 scientists funded by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) produced 10 million doses of influenza vaccine in tobacco in a milestone deadline of one month. Recently the experimental antibody cocktail Zmapp™, also produced in tobacco, has shown promise as an emergency intervention therapeutic against Ebola virus. These two examples showcase how collaborative efforts between government, private industry and academia are applying plant biotechnology to combat pathogenic agents. Opportunities now exist repurposing tobacco expression systems for exciting new applications in synthetic biology, biofuels production and industrial enzyme production. As plant-produced biotherapeutics become more mainstream, government funding agencies need to be cognizant of the idea that many plant-produced biologicals are often safer, cheaper, and just as efficacious as traditionally used expression systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: Agrobacterium; Nicotiana benthamiana; tobacco; Zmapp Agrobacterium; Nicotiana benthamiana; tobacco; Zmapp
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Powell, J.D. From Pandemic Preparedness to Biofuel Production: Tobacco Finds Its Biotechnology Niche in North America. Agriculture 2015, 5, 901-917.

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