October 28, 2005

Experimentation Involving Cultivation
of Genetically Engineered Salt-Tolerant Eucalyptus
- First Field Trial of the Trees in Japan in Cooperation with University of Tsukuba -

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd.

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (President: Masatomo Nakamura) has started the field trial of salt-tolerant eucalyptus trees at the Gene Research Center of University, Tsukuba this October. Nippon Paper Industries has already successfully developed salt-tolerant eucalyptus using its proprietary genetic engineering technology.
During the cultivation period, which finished at the end of 2009, the Company will evaluate the growth rate in the field environment, salt tolerance and the impact on the atmospheric environment.
This is the first case in Japan, involving the field trial of genetically modified trees.
The salt-tolerant eucalyptus is designed not to dehydrate cells even in an environment with a high salt condition. The choline oxidase gene from the soil bacteria was isolated by the National Institute for Basic Biology, National Institutes of Natural Sciences. The genetically engineered trees were produced with the use of the Multi-Auto-Transformation (MAT) Vector System,*1 Nippon Paper Industries' proprietary technology. It has already been verified that the genetically modified eucalyptus was salt-tolerant with 30% sodium concentration of sea water in a greenhouse-growth test. The research team then conducted a vegetation survey around Tsukuba City in cooperation with the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth. An application for the field experiment was lodged with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Environment in March, with approval obtained on October 12.
The isolated experimental field for this experiment is located on the campus of University of Tsukuba. It is surrounded by two meter-height fences and is also equipped with a monitoring camera to prevent unauthorized access. There is little possibility of cross-pollination of eucalyptus and other surrounding plants as eucalyptus has no related species in Japan. In the experiment, floral buds will be cut off as they appear to prevent the dispersal of pollen and seeds.
Accompanying global warming, dryness and salt damage has been reported around the world. Being capable of growing even on dry land suffering from salt damage, salt-tolerant eucalyptus is expected to contribute prevent global warming as absorbers of carbon dioxide in the air.
*1 Multi-Auto-Transformation Vector System:
Technology for selectively incorporating useful genes in genetic engineering without leaving unnecessary genes present