Smithfield, Tyton partner on research program

Field trials to test using hog manure on non-smoking tobacco being developed as cellulosic ethanol feedstock.

Smithfield Foods' Hog Production Division, Murphy-Brown LLC, and Tyton BioEnergy Systems announced a research partnership to develop new applications for Tyton's dedicated, non-smoking tobacco crop and the resulting soil amendment, filtration and feed products within Smithfield's hog production processes.

The companies are pursuing mutual goals of protecting the environment while improving economic efficiency through this collaboration, the announcement said.

The two companies are establishing field trials with non-smoking tobacco using hog manure as fertilizer. High absorption rates of hog fertilizer by non-smoking tobacco would enhance environmental outcomes and assist Tyton in obtaining lower-cost fertilizer for its industrial crop. In addition, the companies are pursuing the development of ethanol products using tobacco as raw material rather than corn.

Smithfield and Tyton also will develop applications for Tyton's tobacco-based biochar and activated carbon products, which can be used for a wide-range of filtration, land remediation and soil amendment purposes. Other research activities with Tyton co-products will occur in parallel.

Gregg Schmidt, president of Smithfield's Hog Production Division, said, "This innovative project is a great opportunity for us and we are excited to be collaborating with Tyton BioEnergy Systems. We are always seeking novel ways to manage hog manure that demonstrate continual improvement, and we are also excited about the opportunity to pursue the development of ethanol options that utilize tobacco as their primary raw material source."

Tyton president Peter Majeranowski added, "Through our partnership in Virginia and North Carolina, Tyton and Smithfield can develop new applications for non-smoking tobacco to deliver value to farmers, value to the agriculture industry and protect the environment. We see it as a responsibility to secure America's food, energy and environmental futures, and we are so pleased to be working with Smithfield who joins us in advancing towards these goals."

Tyton is an agricultural biotechnology company that has developed unique tobacco technology to produce low-cost sugars, oils and proteins at high profits for the green chemical, feed and existing biorefining markets. The company is headquartered in Danville, Va.

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