Thursday, April 17, 2014
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STATE

BIODIAGNOSTICS EARNS ACCREDITATION
Wisconsin-based BioDiagnostics Inc. has earned ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation, demonstrating technical competence in standard seed testing, trait purity, genetic purity, adventitious presence testing, SNP genotyping and analytical chemistry testing services. As part of this certification, BDI maintains a rigorous proficiency testing program that demonstrates the ability to produce accurate and precise test data in all of its seven seed testing labs. “This certification is not just a label―it’s a tool in how we do business,” says Denise Thiede, vice president of BDI. Thiede explains that ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation should provide BDI’s customers with even more confidence in its test results because it ensures that all methods have been validated, all analysts have been well trained, and all instrumentation has been calibrated and maintained.

NATIONAL

USDA DEREGULATES GE SUGAR BEETS
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has announced its determination of non-regulated status for a variety of sugar beet genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate. This variety is commonly referred to as Roundup Ready sugar beets. After completing both a thorough environmental impact statement and plant pest risk assessment, holding three public meetings and considering and analyzing thousands of comments regarding its analyses, APHIS has determined that, from the standpoint of plant pest risk, RR sugar beets are as safe as traditionally-bred sugar beets. This is APHIS’ final regulatory determination in this matter.

VALENT TO OFFER NEW SEED PROTECTANT IN 2013
Valent U.S.A. Corporation has announced that growers, seed conditioners and seed companies across a number of crops should soon have access to a new seed protection product. Registration by the United States Environmental Protection Agency is anticipated in 2013 for ethaboxam, the key active ingredient in AP3 Fungicide System. The new seed protectant brings together multiple modes of action, including ethaboxam, representing a new novel class of chemistry, to be used in combination with metalaxyl. Studies are showing AP3 is providing systemic and contact protection against oomycete pathogens such as Pythium, Phytophthora, downy mildew and aphanomyces spp., including resistant and uncontrolled types.

INTERNATIONAL

WSDA SEED ADDS CANADIAN GRADING SERVICES
The Washington State Department of Agriculture’s WSDA Seed Laboratory is now recognized by the Canadian government as a foreign seed testing laboratory for use of Canadian methods and procedures for testing seed. This recognition, along with accreditation from the United States Department of Agriculture as a processed verified accredited seed laboratory and USDA grader accreditation, will allow WSDA Seed Program customers to ship seed directly to Canada with a grading report. Accreditation includes all six crop groups encompassing cereals and other crops, including grasses, legumes, vegetables, flowers and herbs, and trees and shrubs.

EU COURT CONFIRMS VALIDITY OF SEED LEGISLATION
In a recent ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed the validity of the current EU seed marketing legislation. The court supported arguments put forward by the EU commission, council and some member states and generally did not follow the line of argumentation of the advocate general, who had considered parts of the existing seed marketing legislation to be invalid. “The ruling comes at an important time,” says Garlich von Essen, secretary general of the European Seed Association. “The commission needed this legal confirmation as it is currently finalizing its legislative proposal for a revision of the European seed marketing legislation.” This revision process started in 2008 with an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing marketing legislation. Following the evaluation, the commission will submit a legislative proposal to member states by the end of the year.

ORIGIN AGRITECH UPDATES GM CORN SEED PROGRAMS
China-based Origin Agritech Limited has provided an update on its GM corn seed pipeline. GM seed products in China must undergo a five-stage approval process, and Origin’s GM phytase corn is the first to pass all five phases of the GM approval process. Origin has incorporated phytase traits into two of its best-selling commercial corn hybrids. Commercialization of these two corn hybrids is pending approval from the Chinese government. Two additional corn hybrids with GM phytase traits are undergoing variety tests. The GM phytase corn is expected to reduce the need for inorganic phosphate supplements, as animals will directly absorb more phosphate from their feed. Origin is researching other GM traits, including herbicide tolerance, insect resistance, nitrogen efficiency and drought stress tolerance.

PLANT GENOMICS YIELD TECHNOLOGY PROGRESSES
Mendel has announced that its flagship yield technology has taken another important step towards the market. This technology will be employed by Monsanto in its new soybean yield trait. Recently, as part of its assessment process, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service made available for public comment a petition requesting deregulation of the high-yield soybean trait. In addition to developing the underlying technology for the yield trait, Mendel has done critical research to determine the molecular basis for the yield improvement and to support the regulatory approval process. The technology is currently in phase three of Monsanto’s product pipeline.

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