Ceres Sweet Sorghum Hybrids Processed by Amyris

  Ceres Sweet Sorghum Hybrids Processed by Amyris

  *Pilot project validates U.S.-produced sweet sorghum as a potential
    feedstock for advanced biofuels and bio-products.
  *Conversion efficiency of sweet sorghum sugars were similar to sugarcane.

Business Wire

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- May 03, 2012

Energy crop company Ceres, Inc. (Nasdaq: CERE) today announced its improved
sweet sorghum hybrids were successfully processed into renewable diesel by
Amyris, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMRS) under a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant.
Amyris is expected to present a summary of the results this afternoon at the
34th Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals in New Orleans,
Louisiana.

The pilot-scale project evaluated both sugars and biomass from Ceres’ sweet
sorghum hybrids grown in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana and Tennessee. To
process the sugars that accumulate in the plants, known as free or soluble
sugars, the sorghum juice was first extracted from the stems and concentrated
into sugar syrup by Ceres. The syrup was then processed by Amyris at its
California pilot facility using its proprietary yeast fermentation system that
converts plant sugars into its trademarked product, Biofene, a renewable
hydrocarbon commonly known as farnesene, which can be readily processed into
renewable fuels and chemicals.

The inedible plant fibers of the sweet sorghum, known as cellulosic biomass or
bagasse, provided an additional source of what are called cellulosic sugars.
The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), at its Colorado
pilot-scale biochemical conversion facility, converted the biomass from Ceres’
hybrids into cellulosic sugars, which Amyris subsequently fermented into
renewable farnesene. The joint evaluation project was funded in part by a U.S.
Department of Energy Integrated Biorefinery grant awarded to Amyris. The grant
included a sub-contract award to Ceres.

“We believe that sweet sorghum could be an important and complementary source
of fermentable sugars as the U.S. expands the production of renewable biofuels
and biochemicals through the use of non-food crops outside of prime cropland,”
said Spencer Swayze, Ceres director of business development. He noted that the
free sugars in sweet sorghum are readily accessible, and with new technology
as demonstrated by NREL, larger quantities of low-cost sugars could be made
available. “As an energy crop, sweet sorghum is an impressive producer of
low-cost, fermentable sugars. A second stream of sugars from the biomass would
be highly compelling,” Swayze said.

“The results from these evaluations confirmed that the Amyris No Compromise
renewable diesel production process performs well across different sugar
sources. Ceres’ sweet sorghum hybrids produced sugars that yielded comparable
levels of farnesene as sugarcane and other sugar sources Amyris has utilized,”
said Todd Pray, Amyris director of product management. “Sweet sorghum can
provide timely feedstock flexibility with environmental benefits. We look
forward to utilizing Ceres’ sweet sorghum in our commercial-scale production
facilities,” Pray concluded.

As a dedicated energy crop, sweet sorghum has a number of advantages. It is
fast-growing and can efficiently produce both large amounts of fermentable
sugars and biomass. The plants require substantially less fertilizer than
sugarcane, and can be grown in drier areas since they utilize water more
efficiently.

Ceres first commercialized its improved hybrids in Brazil this season. This
spring, Ceres also introduced its first two hybrids to supply larger-scale
evaluations in the United States. Ceres anticipates Florida and the Gulf Coast
as well as California’s Imperial Valley, Arizona and Hawaii could be markets
for sweet sorghum production.

ABOUT CERES

Ceres, Inc. is an agricultural biotechnology company that markets seeds for
energy crops used in the production of renewable transportation fuels,
electricity and bio-based products. Ceres combines advanced plant breeding and
biotechnology to develop products that can address the limitations of
first-generation bioenergy feedstocks, increase biomass productivity, reduce
crop inputs and improve cultivation on marginal land. Its development
activities include sweet sorghum, high-biomass sorghum, switchgrass and
miscanthus. Ceres markets its products under its Blade brand.

CERES FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release may contain forward-looking statements. All statements,
other than statements of historical facts, including statements regarding our
efforts to develop and commercialize our products, our short-term and
long-term business strategies, market and industry expectations, future
operating metrics, product yields and future results of operations and
financial position, are forward-looking statements. You should not place undue
reliance on these forward-looking statements because they involve known and
unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond
our control. Factors that could materially affect actual results can be found
in Ceres’ filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Ceres
undertakes no intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking
statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or
otherwise. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as
representing Ceres’ views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press
release.

Amyris, No Compromise and Biofene are trademarks or registered trademarks of
Amyris, Inc.

Contact:

Ceres, Inc.
Gary Koppenjan, 805-376-6546
mediaoffice@ceres.net
 
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