Tag Archives: seed production

Bejo introduces sustainable seed coating

Plant breeders and seed producers Bejo Zaden have introduced a new seed coating which is says is made entirely from natural sustainable materials and which will offer a number of advantages.

As well as providing greater protection to the seed than previous coatings, the new material is said to produce a smoother, rounded seed which aids sowing, and the new colour is said to be easier to see in the field. Because it is natural, the new coating completely decomposes in soil once it has completed its function.

During the seed preparation phase, the new coating dries quicker, reducing the amount of energy used and also improves seed vitality, both as less drying is required and as the new coating has higher moisture permeability.

The new coating is approved for use on organic crops by SKAL, the Dutch organic licensing authority and in due course the new coating will be introduced across the Bejo portfolio, starting with beetroot seed.

Photo Credit: Bejo Zaden

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Bayer to sell Nunhems to get Monsanto deal through

Following rumours last month, Bayer has confirmed that it plans to sell of vegetable breeding division Nunhems in order to gain regulatory approval for its ongoing take-over bid for Monsanto.

The announcement comes as Bayer tries to reassure European regulators who have concerns about competition in key areas including seeds, traits and crop protection. Last year Bayer sold €5.9 billion of crop science assets to BASF.

“We have now also committed to divest our entire vegetable seed business. Certain additional business activities of Bayer and Monsanto may also be sold or out-licensed,” Management Board Chairman Werner Baumann said at a Financial News Conference in Leverkusen on 28 February. His comments have been interpreted by some that parts of Monstanto’s De Ruiter and Seminis brands could also be affected, but with Bayer and De Ruiter both being particularly active in tomato breeding, the divestment of Nunhems may satisfy regulators.

Photo Credit: Nunhems

The post Bayer to sell Nunhems to get Monsanto deal through appeared first on Hort News on 5 March 2018.

Should gene edited crops be exempt from GMO rules?

The European court’s Advocate General has determined that organisms derived by gene editing technologies are exempt from wider EU rules on growing and marketing genetically modified (GM) food.

In a release last week, Advocate General Michel Bobek suggested that the EU’s GMO Directive ‘does not … apply to organisms obtained through certain techniques of genetic modification, such as mutagenesis (‘the mutagenesis exemption’).’

Unlike transgenesis, mutagenesis does not, in principle, entail the insertion of foreign DNA into a living organism. It does, however, involve an alteration of the genome of a living species. The mutagenesis techniques have made it possible to develop seed varieties with elements resistant to a selective herbicide.

Dr Michael Antoniou, the head of the molecular genetics department at King’s College London, said exempting new plant-breeding technologies from GM laws was “wrong and potentially dangerous”.

“None of these gene editing methods are perfect,” he told the Guardian. “They have ‘off target’ effects that can inadvertently disturb the biochemistry of organisms leading to unintended outcomes which – if you’re making a new gene edited food crop, for example – could result in the unexpected production of a new toxin or allergenic substance.”

However, John Brennan, secretary-general of the biotechnology lobby group EuropaBio, said, “The advocate general’s opinion demonstrates that necessary steps are being taken towards clarifying the regulatory status of products that have been developed using the latest biotechnological tools and applications. We trust that the forthcoming ruling will contribute to establishing regulatory clarity.”

The Advocate General’s Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Seed breeders say impact of Brexit not appreciated

Representatives of the seed industry have told the Fresh Produce Journal that Defra has shown a “heartbreaking” lack of awareness of the potential effects of Brexit on the plant breeding and seed production sector.

There are fears that unless issues are addressed, UK farmers and growers could lose access to many varieties and that seed businesses could move away from the UK in order to maintain international and European links. Other issues include the potential loss of a common variety list and additional phytosanitary requirements.

Chief executive of the British Society for Plant Breeders (BSPB), Penny Mapleston, said, “Breeders will only be able to absorb the higher costs of registering new varieties if there is a guaranteed market. The number of varieties available in the UK market will be less. Fairly swiftly you will see production move overseas, where we will just import it back.”

Global seed breeder Rijk Zwaan’s country manager for the UK, Gerard van der Hut, commented, “What will happen is we will only register the variety we can sell. With new varieties if there’s not enough demand in the UK then we won’t sell them, so the choice given to the UK market could be limited.”

Photo Credit: pxhere

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Use of true potato seed gets EU boost

The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (Seeds and Propagation section) of the European Commission has approved a so-called ‘temporary experiment’ with derogatory rules on the marketing of True Potato Seed.

Potatoes are currently exclusively propagated by tubers, however, innovative technologies now allow propagation by seeds and this has a number of significant benefits, including speeding up the multiplication of varieties which are currently reliant on tuber production.

The new technology for the production of true seed relies on the crossing of uniform, inbred lines, allowing quicker introduction of one, or even several beneficial new traits as F1 hybrids, and the use of True Potato Seed for faster propagation; one potato plant can easily produce 1000 seeds.

The total value of seed potatoes produced in the EU is estimated at €1 billion per year. New technologies will potentially have a large impact on trade; a small bag of 30 grams of True Potato Seed corresponds to 2,500 kilograms of seed tubers, which are also prone to losing quality during long transport. Current legislation in the EU does not regulate the marketing of true seed of Solanum tuberosum. The temporary experiment, which will last seven years, will help in establishing the requirements for this material so that both producers and users can maximally benefit from this innovative technology.

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