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BASF Applies for EU approval for a Second Starch Potato Variety

Published on 2010-09-01. Author : SpecialChem

Zepkow, Germany -- The German Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Rainer Brüderle, helped to start the harvesting of the Amflora potatoes in Zepkow in the German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Together with BASF's Chairman Dr. Jürgen Hambrecht and Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, Member of the Board of BASF's Board of Executive Directors responsible for plant biotechnology, the Minister harvested the first tubers of genetically modified starch potatoes. This year BASF has successfully grown 14 hectares at this site. Brüderle stressed that plant biotechnology can play an important role in the competitiveness and sustainability of European agriculture.

"Today is a special day for plant biotechnology in Germany. In the future, the technology promises to provide solutions for many challenges that we are facing, for instance providing an ample supply of renewable resources. German industry is playing in the international premier league with these innovative technologies, and we want to remain there," said Minister Brüderle.

"We are celebrating two milestones. Firstly, we are starting to bring in the Amflora potato harvest and secondly, we applied for approval for our next starch potato, Amadea, in Brussels," said Hambrecht. "I hope that Amadea will be available to European farmers in the very near future. Crops optimized through biotechnology should not just provide benefits to farmers in America and Asia. Our European farmers should also get access to innovative products so they can remain competitive on the global agricultural markets," he added.

Amadea is a high-performing modern starch potato. Like Amflora, it produces pure amylopectin starch. Its agronomic properties and safety have been tested in field trials conducted over a number of years. BASF is expecting to launch the product in 2013/14 after receiving a positive safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Amadea is initially intended to complement Amflora cultivation and will later substitute BASF's first starch potato.

Numerous farmers and representatives from the German-based initiative "Forum Grüne Vernunft e.V." (Forum for Green Common Sense) were present at the Amflora harvest. "Discussions surrounding the use of genetically modified plants are very emotional in Germany. We want to encourage an objective dialog based on scientific facts," said Dr. Uwe Schrader, the chairman of the initiative. "This is the only unbiased way of identifying the best solutions for agriculture in Germany."

About Amflora and Amadea

Amflora and Amadea are two genetically modified potato varieties that produce pure amylopectin starch. Conventional potatoes produce a mixture of amylopectin and amylose. In many potato starch applications, for example in the paper, adhesive and food industries, only amylopectin is needed, and separating the two starch components is uneconomical. Amflora and Amadea produce pure amylopectin starch and thus help to save resources, energy as well as costs.

Moreover, paper coated with amylopectin starch has a higher gloss, and the addition of amylopectin starch to concrete and adhesives can be processed for a longer period of time.

In the case of Amflora, BASF Plant Science and its partners in the starch industry decided to focus on industrial applications.

Due to the demand for amylopectin starch in the food industry, BASF Plant Science will be working with its partners to evaluate potential applications for its Amadea potato in this area.

About BASF Plant Science

BASF Plant Science - a BASF group company - is one of the world's leading companies providing innovative plant biotechnology solutions for agriculture. Today, about 700 employees are helping farmers meet the growing demand for improved agricultural productivity and healthier nutrition for humans and animals. BASF Plant Science has developed an unparalleled gene discovery platform focusing on yield and quality traits in crops such as corn, soybean and rice. Jointly with leading partners in the seed industry BASF Plant Science is commercializing its products. Current projects include higher yielding row crops, nutritionally-enhanced corn for animal feed or higher content of Omega-3's in oil crops for preventing cardiovascular diseases.

About BASF

BASF is the world's leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics and performance products to agricultural products, fine chemicals as well as oil and gas. As a reliable partner BASF creates chemistry to help its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF posted sales of more than €50 billion in 2009 and had approximately 105,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN).

Source: BASF


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