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.

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