Mount Vernon, Washington based scientist Jackie Heinricer and her biotech company, Booshoot, are perfectly poised to change the agricultural landscape in the U.S. and meet the skyrocketing demand for bamboo. Exciting stuff.
As you may already know, bamboo is fast-growing, and primarily grown in Asia and India. It can be used to create energy, textiles, furniture, clothing, flooring and paper — but few realize that bamboo is being dramatically over-harvested, and the world’s supply is disappearing at an alarming rate. According to a UN report, as many as half the world’s woody bamboos may be on their way to extinction.
Bamboo is very hard to propagate and grow from seed. Yet, Booshoot’s patented tissue culture technology makes it possible, for the first time ever, to produce the types and quantities of plants needed to replenish the world’s dwindling bamboo supply. The company has the unique ability to clone true species, without genetic modification, in vast numbers.
Most of Booshoots’ inventory is currently sold wholesale to large nurseries in the U.S. for resale to the public. The company has the capacity to produce more than one million plants annually, and is scaling up to meet a growing demand in the domestic agriculture market (expected to be three-plus million by 2011). It is in active negotiations with landowners and farmers throughout the country, including a possible planting of several thousand acres in the Mississippi Delta. This homegrown plant may not only supplement the struggling cotton and timber industries, but also serve as bio-fuel feed stock. Booshoot is not currently exporting any plants abroad to Asia, or elsewhere.
Bamboo, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Bamboo requires virtually no pesticides and little water to grow. And to top it off, it sequesters harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere faster and more efficiently than any plant on Earth, and pumps out oxygen into the air.
To learn more, visit booshootgardens.com.