Energy crop developer Ceres Inc. said Monday it was expanding its plant breeding development in Mexico.

The Thousand Oaks company has a facility in Jalisco where it conducts research on sweet sorghum, a crop that it is encouraging farmers in Brazil to grow as an alternative to sugar cane as an ethanol feedstock.

The Mexican Lab in the Pacific Coast state complements the company’s sites in Brazil because both share similar rainfall, temperature and geographical conditions, the company said.

“Our plant breeding activities in Mexico play an important role in our product development pipeline, and we are confident that the greater efficiency offered here from both a cost and product development perspective will lead to better hybrids faster,” said Timothy Swaller, vice president of genomic technologies, in a statement.

Shares in Ceres closed down 3 cents, or about 4 percent, to 58 cents on the Nasdaq.


Scott Kohno, managing partner of the Retail Element, has been elected to the Board of Trustees of Woodbury University in Burbank.

Kohno’s retail consultancy in Santa Fe Springs provides broad services, including brand strategy, graphic design, interior designers, marketing and merchandising. Clients range from small firms to Fortune 500 companies.

“Scott brings to our board unique marketing expertise that will help us grow our university,” said Woodbury University President Luis Maria R. Calingo, in a statement. “His exceptional experience in branding organizations and launching new businesses, nationally and internationally, will be a valuable asset to our strategic planning, as we move forward in expanding our programs to a wider populace.”

Kohno, who earned a B.A. in economics from UCLA and an MBA from Pepperdine University, said he was honored by the appointment.

“My passion is digging deep into understanding what clients really want and to implement plans that exceed their expectations,” he said, in a statement. “I want to utilize that same passion in contributing to Woodbury’s goals and objectives.”