BASF has stated that it has given an application to Defra for conducting trials of genetically modified blight resistant potatoes in the UK and this has again shifted the attention over the question as to whether or not GM has got a place in UK agriculture. Meanwhile as the deadline for responses to the Government’s GM co-existence consultation comes closer there seems to be a divided opinion as ever. A straw poll on ‘Should we grow GM potatoes in the UK?’ which was conducted by Farmers Guardian showed that the respondents were divided on this question. Also a number of questions have been raised regarding the blight control in the UK. These questions are: Is there blight resistance available in conventionally-bred potato varieties? Is it becoming more difficult and expensive? Are the BASF GM varieties resistant to the A2 blight strain?
BASF undertakes investment in new energy generation technology research activities in the areas of energy management and industrial biotechnology. In order to further its interests BASF is in the process of investing 3 million in LUCA Technologies. LUCA is involved in using microorganisms for reactivating the production of methane gas from fuels such as oil or coal. LUCA has plans for developing Geobioreactors into mass production methane farms which would meet the growing demand for this energy. Robert Pfeiffer, President and CEO of LUCA Technologies said: We are excited that a leading international chemical company with the stature of BASF shares our vision of this future technology. The new strategic partnership will accelerate product development to help meet the growing demands of a $150 billion United States domestic natural gas market. The funds would be used by LUCA for continuing its R&D activities in the lab and supporting testing of the technology in coal beds on its own or through partnerships with energy companies.
Monsanto and BASF have come together for a long term plant biotechnology agreement for developing high yield drought resistant crops. The companies are looking to develop a budget of $1.5 billion for development of yield and stress tolerance traits of cotton, canola, soyabean and corn. It has both existing and planned yield and stress tolerance programs apart from projects generated by independent plant biotechnology research. The product which is to be developed would enter the markets in the first half of next decade. Also the companies have entered into a collaboration agreement for researching techniques for controlling soyabean cyst nematode which can affect crop yield. I was just wondering with Monsanto being involved in GM crop scandal how far it would be successful in this venture and whether it will be able to win back the trust of the people again. Via businessweek