Hayward, Calif.’s Mendel Biotechnology, an agricultural biotech, raised an undisclosed sum in a fourth round of funding, VentureWire reports (subscription required). The funding accompanied a development deal with the U.K. energy giant BP; Monsanto, a major developer of genetically modified seeds and a longtime Mendel partner, also participated.

The BP deal centers on the development of new genetically modified strains of grass that could be used to produce cellulosic ethanol. The production of ethanol from grasses and similar cellulosic sources should theoretically be more efficient than existing corn-based derivations, since the process utilizes the entire plant and not just its grains.