Study envisions $8B economy from Delta bioscience

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A study by a Memphis nonprofit group proposes major changes in the way agricultural land in the Delta is used to create a bioeconomy worth $8 billion with more than 25,000 jobs in the next decade.

The study commissioned by Memphis Bioworks Foundation says 36 million acres in the Mississippi Delta now producing cotton and trees could be converted to producing plants that could be turned into biofuels or plastics.

Bioworks director Steve Bares told The Memphis Daily News that the agricultural changes proposed by the study wouldn't reduce food crops.

Besides biofuels and polymers for plastic products, alternative plants could be turned into lubricants or briquettes that can be used with coal to produce electricity.

Agencies from Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee helped fund the study.

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